Red Planet Mars Comes Closer to Earth Like Never Before Today

Mindy Sparks
August 1, 2018

Last week, Mars was already brighter than usual and will shine even more - and appear bigger - on Tuesday.

As for novice astronomers who might be a little bummed they missed the 3:50 a.m. wake up call, NASA streamed Mars' close encounter with Earth live from the Griffith Observatory.

"Right now, Mars is at its highest in the South around 1:30am and looks like the brightest "star" in the sky with a definite orange/red colour - I saw it this morning before dawn", he said.

For about two months between July 7 and September 7, Mars will glow even brighter, outshining Jupiter and earning the title of the fourth-brightest object in Earth's sky after Venus, the moon, and the sun.

Mars gets closest to Earth on July 31: What is Mars' opposition?

NASA estimates it may not be until 2287 that Mars will better its distance of 15 years ago. This will also be the closest the red planet comes to Earth until October 2020. In this case, Mars appears opposite the sun, and is said to be in "opposition".

"This may be responsible for a string of bright clouds visible near the northern polar region that are the remnants of a disintegrating storm", NASA wrote.

The last time Mars was close to Earth was in 2003, when the red planet came within 34.6 million miles (55.7 million km) of our planet. It was the closest Mars had been to Earth in 60,000 years, according to NASA. The two planets will be just 57.6 million kilometres apart.


This phenomenon is expected to occur next in 2034.

On the evening of July 31, and the planet will be seen rising from the Gemini constellation in India and you will be able to see it with the naked eye.

Although people viewing Mars from low latitudes and from the Southern Hemisphere will have the clearest view of the the Red Planet, Mars will be visible worldwide.

Stargazers have the massive Martian dust storm to partly thank for its brightness.

Glen Nagle, of CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science, told nine.com.au that Earth is now in "opposition", meaning Mars and the sun will be on precise opposite sides of our planet.

One of the proposed methods of pumping more Carbon dioxide into the Red Planet's atmosphere is by bombing the planet's poles.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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