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Questions and Answers

2012 - Will Catastrophes Strike?

There are lots of scare stories, but check out what
Sky & Telescope Magazine and
have to say.

Fireball 2009 November 21

Widely seen over northern South Africa, for eyewitness reports see
Auke Slotegraaf's webpage.


You may have received an email saying that Mars is going to look as big as the Moon in August.

It will not.

HST / STSCI / PRC99-27
Mars imaged by the Hubble Space Telescope in 1999.

This story goes the rounds every year. It dates back to the close approach by Mars in 2003, when a well-meaning person sent out an e-mail that if you looked at Mars with a high powered telescope, then through that telescope Mars would look as big as the Moon as seen with the naked eye.

This has now entered folklore as the urban legend that Mars will be as big as the Moon in August, and hoaxers deliberately propagate this myth.

But if you would like to know what is really in the sky not just in August but every month, take a look at the maps of the night sky that you can download for free from www.skymaps.com

Did Apollo really land on the Moon?

In 2009 NASA put the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) into orbit around the Moon to survey the surface for potential landing sites. In the process, it photographed the landing sites of the Apollo missions of 1969 - 1972.

Apollo 11
Apollo 11 Descent Module imaged on the surface of the Moon by LRO, 2009.

For more pictures of the Apollo landing sites, see NASA LRO webpages and later views of Apollo 11 landing site.