Discovery Canada's "Close Encounters": Mars Mangles Missiles?
|By Robert Sheaffer|
|Cartes du Ciel shows Mars as seen from Malmstrom AFB around 12 am March 24, 1967|
Guards reported seeing a bright glowing orange object in the sky (depicted in Close Encounters as a huge, angry, pulsating object hurling down beams). What might it have been? Surprisingly, nobody seems to have asked that question. Whenever witnesses report a bright object in the sky that is red or orange, the first thing to check is whether Mars might have been the culprit. Mars only appears conspicuously bright from earth for a period of a few months every two years. Sure enough, this was one of those times. Mars was only about 3 weeks away from its opposition of April 15, 1967, when it would be directly opposite the sun, and at its maximum brightness until the next opposition 26 months later. It would rise a few hours after sunset, and remain in the sky the rest of the night. The guards were very likely looking at Mars. (Mars will be reaching a similarly-placed opposition on April 8, 2014. Observe it in March, and you'll get a very good idea of how it appeared in March of 1967.) . . .
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