On August 27, 2003, the planet Mars will be 34,646,418 miles from Earth – the closest it has been in more than 73,000 years. Mars will be brighter than Jupiter and all the stars in the sky – a red planet 8 times brighter than normal.

Celebrate this once-in-a-lifetime planetary opposition with Mars: A Close Encounter, hosted by NYC’s most sophisticated public observatory.

Irving Robbins, director, and Keith Rowan, astrophysical technician of the Astrophysical Observatory of the College of Staten Island.

* $10 Admission, $5 for kids ages 6-12
* enjoy a fact-filled multi-media presentation about Mars by expert astronomers
* meet members of the American Association of Amateur Astronomers (AAAA) and view celestial objects through their field telescopes
* explore exhibits from NASA on space technology, space food, and the Space Station
* enjoy a children’s activity zone featuring crafts, coloring, and other child-centric activities
* mingle with Athena Mars Rover Project members
* view Mars through the main telescope of CSI’s Astrophysical Observatory
* savor Martian delicacies, view Martian movies, and browse Martian souvenirs

Wednesday, August 27, 2003, 8:30 p.m.

Ongoing: exhibits, refreshments and programming in CFA
8:30 p.m. – 10 p.m. check-in and registration
9 p.m. – 9:45 p.m. presentation: About Mars
10 p.m.– 10:45 p.m. repeat of presentation
10 p.m. – Midnight observatory and field telescope viewings

College of Staten Island Center for the Arts
2800 Victory Boulevard
Staten Island NY 10314

Mars: A Close Encounter is presented by the CSI Foundation. For more information on attending the event, call the College of Staten Island Advancement Office at 718-982-2365. Event sponsors include Coca Cola, Con Edison, Northfield Savings Bank, PerfectHealth, and SI Bank & Trust.

EDITOR’S NOTE: You are invited to send a reporter and/or camera crew. If you plan to attend or send a representative, please contact Ken Bach at 718-982-2328 to make arrangements or for more information.