Mars is making closest approach to Earth in 15 years today

02 August, 2018, 15:42 | Author: Lucy Floyd
  • Mars is now the closest to Earth than it has been in 15 years

But also, "around the time of opposition, a planet is at its closest distance to Earth for a given year", the U.S. space agency explained. According to NASA, the Red Planet will be at a distance of 57.6 million kilometres.

The planet will remain bright for several weeks, and you can also view the planets Saturn, Jupiter and Venus in a "long arc across the sky from east to west" shortly after sunset.

But, when and where can I see it?

Both were captured when Mars was near opposition, which occurs about every two years, when Earth's orbit catches up to Mars' orbit.

This rare phenomenon can be observed with the naked eye tonight and Mars will be the brightest celestial object in the night sky after the Moon.

Mars was in opposition on July 27, while Saturn was in opposition a month earlier on June 27, so Earth has been getting spoiled with fantastic glimpses of its neighboring planets in the past few months. However, Mars will come close to Earth the next time in 2020 and the distance shall be 38.6 million miles (62 million kilometers). You can still see Mars, but the trick is to get up before dawn and find a good view of the horizon - over the water or from high ground outside the city. You can also look through a telescope. In 2003, Mars made its closest approach to Earth-34.6 million miles-in almost 60,000 years.

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Though Mars is closest to the Earth in 15 years is a phenomenon for our generation, it is nowhere as big a deal as it was in 2003.

"If Earth and Mars followed perfectly circular orbits, opposition would be as close as the two planets could get", NASA said on its website.

For instance, back in early 2017 researchers examined data that was collected from the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) program and noted then also that there wasn't enough Carbon dioxide in the red planet's atmosphere.

As for determining whether life exists on Mars, Cami said it won't happen overnight. Mars's next close approach is October 6, 2020.

Planet Mars is set to be visible from the Earth's surface on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, as the Red Planet is to pass closer to Earth overnight than it has ever been in the last 15 years. For some time he will be in the sky the brightest point.

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