Sunday, December 23, 2007

Mars shines for Christmas

An excerpt from an Associated Press news item:

Mars glows; no need for Rudolph's nose

By SETH BORENSTEIN, AP Science Writer Thu Dec 20, 11:17 AM ET

Mars will be unusually bright this Christmas Eve and the moon will be shining full — a development that might make Santa Claus rethink his need for Rudolph's red nose.

That idea, from Miami Space Transit Planetarium director Jack Horkheimer, made us wonder if retooling a certain reindeer song is the best way to explain it to the kids:

Mars is a red-tinged planet

With a very shiny glow

And if you look to see it

You will find the moon in tow.

The red planet will shine brighter because it will be directly opposite the sun, reflecting the most light, and fairly close to Earth, only 55.5 million miles away. The full moon will appear nearby, rising about an hour later, said Horkheimer, host of the public television show "Star Gazer."

I love to post news items with the name "Horkheimer" in them. Because I'm a wisenheimer. Or items with "John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt" -- that's my name too!

News excerpt copyright 2007 Associated Press.

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