Friday, February 3, 2012

What is the size of Mars

What is the size of Mars? How big is Mars? The Radius of Mars is 3,389.5 km (About half of the radius of the Earth). Its circumference is 21,344 km (Not a big surprise, this is also about half of the circumference of the Earth). The volume of Mars is 1.63116 X 1011 km3 and the mass of Mars is 6.4169 x 1023 kg.
Although Mars is smaller than Earth its surface area (38% of earth) Is Almost identical to earth LAND space (Since there are no oceans on Mars).
A common hoax is about the moon and Mars being equal in size. The hoax started back in 2003 when in august 27th Mars was in opposition to earth (Minimal distance) of about 55 Million KM. When Mars was in conjunction with the moon (A planet-moon conjunctions occurs once in a month), the message was that looking at Mars through75X magnification telescope will results in a size similar to a moon. While this is more or less correct, the hoax removed the telescope and the magnification leading people to think that Mars will be as big as the moon to the naked eye. This is of course a complete rubbish. Also the year 2003 was left out and that hoax continues for a year after a year starting mid June and ending After august. Any email that you see with a subject that includes "27th August" is a candidate for the hoax. but don't despair, simply reply with link to this articles and help a little to fight the hoax.
To kill the Hoax completely look at my own photo of Mars and the moon from 24-Dec-2007. There was no occulation (The moon did not cover Mars), but they were extremely close to each other. Mars red color is quite distinctive. You might need to enlarge the photo to see the small disc (It is clear that this is a disc and not a dot of a star) of Mars just under the Moon. Look closely. It is there (around 7 o'clock). Mars was not as close as 55Million KM, but still the difference in size is huge. I took the photo in the early morning. Notice the nice flock of birds to the right.
Mars size
Mars size compared to the moon
Mars distance from Earth varies a lot. The distance can be as short as 55M kilometers or as far as 350M kilometers. During the times that Mars is far, it is quite dim, and its red color almost unnoticeable to the naked eye. It is best to observer it when it is close, and with a good telescope with 100X magnification, you will see many details on it.