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Mars 1999

Mars came into its opposition on April 24, 1999 in the bordering region of constellations Virgo and Libra, and thus offer another good opportunity for observation. Moreover, this approach has offered another opportunity to launch spacecraft to the red planet, which was used by the Japanese Space Agency, JAXA, to launch Nozomi in attempt to reach Mars in 1999, and by Nasa to to launch the two spacecraft in the Mars Surveyor 1998 program, Mars Climate Orbiter (MCO) and Mars Polar Lander (MPL) - unfortunately the two Nasa craft apparently failed on their arrival at Mars, while Nozomi suffered a delay so that it arrived near Mars in December 2003 in humble conditions, and finally had to be abandoned after this four-year delay.

In January, the planet apparently moved through constellation Virgo and brightened from +1.0 to +0.5 magnitudes visually, its apparent diameter growing to 8". A slight Mars phase was visible, as only 90 percent of the visible side of the planet was illuminated by the Sun. Observers on Earth were looking on the Northern hemisphere, the planetīs Sub-Earth latitude being +17 deg. The planet rose shortly after midnight at end of this month.

In February, Mars moved into Libra. Its brightness will rise to -0.2 visual magnitudes, its diameter to 10".

In March, the Red Planet became stationary in Libra on the 18th, brightening up to -1.0 visual magnitudes and growing to 14.0" apparent diameter. It will rise shortly after 11 pm on 1st and before 9:30 pm on 31st of the month.

Mars Oppositions | 2001 >

Hartmut Frommert [contact]

[Mars] | [Spider] @ [SEDS]

Last Modification: February 13, 1999