Ross on Wye and the Wye Valley Home Page, Wyenot.com. Current and archive news for Ross-on-Wye and the region from Wyenot News.
The place for information on Ross-on-Wye and the Wye Valley

A ONCE IN 60,000 YEAR VIEW OF MARS ABOVE ROSS-ON-WYE
1
Bookmark and Share Follow us on Current status on Twitter. Wyenot on Facebook. Wyenot on You Tube.

The photographs below were taken during the early hours of 31 August 2003 British Summer Time, the first cloud and work free opportunity I had following the closest approach to Earth of the planet Mars in virtually 60,000 years. The red planet makes a close approach to Earth approximately once every 26 months as it takes roughly twice as long as Earth to orbit the sun. As the orbits of both planets are elliptical however, some approaches are closer than others. In 1991, the 'close encounter' was nine million miles more distant than in 2003, so this year it appeared 23% larger in the sky. If you would like to see Mars for yourself, look southeast at around midnight if you are in the UK. It is the brightest object in the sky at the moment, excluding the Moon, if visible.

The last time Mars was this bright in the sky was during an ice age, when the only humans around to see it were primitive Neanderthal troglodytes out hunting woolly mammoth or wild deer with their flint tools. The place where Ross-on-Wye now stands was being formed by glaciers cutting valleys in the rock.

The top of these views is from Bridstow Bridge and was quite difficult to take due to traffic headlights behind me, trying to await a gap in the traffic coming from both directions and eventually just going ahead regardless. It is a 30 second exposure at f2.2 and the town of Ross-on-Wye appears over exposed in order to capture the stars and Mars.

The second and third of the views were taken by the old railway bridge at Backney. They are virtually the same shot, however I stood behind the camera and used a halogen lamp to light the bridge during the second exposure. Both exposures are 30 seconds at f2.2.

Mars visible over Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire
Mars and the Ross-on-Wye Skyline 23:50 hours Greenwich Mean Time on 30 August 2003.
Mars visible over Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire
Mars from Backney Railway Bridge at 00:18 hours Greenwich Mean Time on 31 August 2003.
Mars visible over Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire
Mars from Backney Railway Bridge at 00:15 hours Greenwich Mean Time on 31 August 2003. The bridge lit by hand held halogen torch light.

WYENOT.COM, WYENOT NEWS and WNTV, Ross on Wye Herefordshire. PLEASE CLICK HERE FOR CONTACT INFORMATION

Photography, video and web design copyright © Alan J. Wood, Wyenot.com. All rights reserved.