Published: Sat, July 28, 2018
Sci-tech | By April Francis

This Weekend Offers A Chance To See Mars Up Close

This Weekend Offers A Chance To See Mars Up Close

The next approach is on Oct 6, 2020.

Mars will still be 35.8 million miles away though, so there's certainly no danger of it bumping into us. "If Earth and Mars followed perfectly circular orbits, opposition would be as close as the two planets could get".

It will be easy to spot Mars on Thursday night, not only because it will be shining brightly, but also because it will be sitting just below the almost full moon.

Mars will soon appear brighter than normal, and make its closest approach to Earth in the last 15 years.

Anyone noticing a particularly red star in the sky recently has more than likely been looking at Mars.

When Mars and Earth are close to each other, Mars appears very bright in the sky.

"An opposition can occur anywhere along Mars" orbit. The release of the photos coincides with the planet's close approach to Earth.

"From its retrograde motion in the sky and its blood red color to the question of whether Mars has or had life, it is a planet that has never failed to make us wonder".

Due to the different orbits that Earth and Mars take around the sun, they will not reach their closest point to each other until July 31.

A massive dust storm presently engulfing Mars, however, is obscuring surface details normally visible through telescopes.

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

Hubble, one of the largest space telescopes, captured images of dust storms on the Red Planet this summer. The sun, moon and Venus are usually the top three brightest objects.

Nasa has said that there is now a dust storm which is affecting the whole planet, so this may make seeing details on Mars a little more hard for astronomers.

If the weather does not cooperate for stargazers, there should still be plenty of opportunities to see the planet in the coming weeks. That same day, parts of the world will see a total lunar eclipse. This is when Mars should start to come into view from Earth. For some, that means a chance to see a total lunar eclipse - the longest of the 21st century, but the eclipse won't be visible from the United States. North America is the only continent on Earth from which the eclipse will not be visible.

Like this: