Mars making closest approach to Earth in 15 years

28 July, 2018, 08:01 | Author: Tara Reeves
  • Mars making closest approach to Earth in 15 years

If you miss the Mars Close Approach next month, the next approach will be October 6, 2020.

On July 31, Mars will be 35.8 million miles away.

"Even with bright moonlight, you can't miss Mars", Samuhel said.

Mars will make its closest approach to earth in 15 years on Tuesday, giving stargazers a great opportunity to see the Red Planet. Just look out for the big red dot.

In 2003, Mars and Earth were at their closest in almost 60,000 years, coming within 34.6 million miles of each other. Mars will still be more visible than normal for a while, but will become fainter as it travels farther from Earth during the planets' orbits around the sun.

For Powell River residents seeking to view the planet from the comfort of their own homes, there is no need to go to a particularly dark place or use a telescope to see it. Mars will appear on the horizon at around 9:30 pm each evening, starting in the southeast at the bottom right in relation to the moon, and rise throughout the night.

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When those high-speed incoming atoms hit the Martian atmosphere, some of their energy was emitted as ultraviolet light, which is invisible to the human eye but detectable to instruments like IUVS. The sun, moon and Venus are usually the top three brightest objects.

The red planet is easily visible with the naked eye, but folks with a telescope may be able to see some details of the planet, including the planet's ice caps, according to AccuWeather.

Meanwhile, those in the Deep South, northern Plains and much of the West should have cloud-free conditions, leading to uninterrupted views of the red planet on the night that it reaches opposition.

However, there is a global dust storm obscuring the red planet that could continue through August and into September. On Mars, they can happen anywhere, and in large areas, said NASA.

To start with, on 27 July, something called a Mars opposition will happen, when Mars, the Earth and the Sun all directly line up.

The Mars opposition falls just before the longest total lunar eclipse of the century, which will last 1 hour and 43 minutes. North America is the only continent on Earth from which the eclipse will not be visible.

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