C'était la lumière martienne, pas un vaisseau aérien

Daily Times-Press de Middletown (New York), 31 juillet 1909, p. 10 Flood, Chuck: "''TWAS MARTIAN LIGHT NOT AIRSHIP.; Middletown (NY) Daily Times-Press, July 31, 1909", Magonia Exchange, 19 décembre 2007.

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L'astronome Schoonmaker, de Goshen, explique le phénomène de vendredi soir.

(De notre correspondant de Goshen)

Goshen, 31 juillet -- La lumière brillante, qui a été vue par bon nombre de gens de Goshen, s'envolant gracieusement au-dessus de l'horizon est, vendredi soir, a débouché sur un certain nombre d'interrogations par téléphone de l'astronome local de Goshen, Theodore D. Schoonmaker, et il est resté occupé entre 11 h et 12 h, à expliquer sa signification. Certains pensaient que c'était un ballon, certains un vaisseau aérien, d'autres un météore. Quite an interest has been developed lately in some mysterious airship, which was seen, or was thought to have been seen, floating around Mt. Beacon, getting in readiness for the Hudson-Fulton celebration this fall.

But the mysterious light was nothing of the sort.  Mr. Schoonmaker when asked regarding it this morning, stated that the planet Mars is now nearer to the earth than it has been for fifteen years, being on the same side of the sun that the earth is, and he told his interviewers that the stranger was Mars.  Maybe he was signaling us; maybe (and most likely) not.

Mars will steadily advance upwards and will be visible in the early evening in about a couple of months, and the other bright light to the left of it, is the planet Saturn, with its rings and ten moons.

Our earth revolves around the sun in 365 days at a mean distance of about 95 million miles; Mars travels around the sun in about 687 days at a mean distance of 141 million miles, and when both are on the same side of the sun in their annual orbit, the distance of Mars from the earth in round numbers is 141 millions, less 95 millions, or 36 millions of miles.  That is the reason Mars is so bright at present because it is so much nearer the earth.  When the earth is on one side of the sun and Mars on the other side, Mars is distance from the earth 95 millions of miles, plus 141 millions of miles.

Leaving Mars and airships, etc., another beautiful sight in the west is the conjunction of Jupiter and Venus, two other planets that revolve around the sun, one in about 221 days, Venus, and the other in something over eleven years.

On the 13th of August, they will seemingly be as near together as half the diameter of the moon, although really many millions of miles from each other, or in round numbers 480 millions of miles, less 67 millions of miles.

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