"The Planet Mars is Getting Ready to Back Up!  And You Can Watch it Shift into Reverse from Your Own Back Yard!"

Scheduled air date: 2001 Apr 02-08

Click on the image above to view a QuickTime Movie presentation (992KB)

As we pass by the planet Mars, it will get brighter and its motion against the starry background will appear to slow down.  By the second week of May, Mars will appear to have stopped, and will then slowly begin moving backward during what astronomers call retrograde motion.  On July 19th, Mars will again appear to have stopped, after which it will resume its usual forward motion.
(Mars can currently be seen toward the south in the pre-dawn sky.)

If you wish to view illustrations for other episodes, please see our Star Gazer Illustrated directory.

Illustrations on this page were created using TheSky Astronomy Software, an advanced desktop planetarium program designed for Windows 95, 98, NT, 2000 and Windows Me. Some post-processing may have occurred.

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