Mars making closest approach to Earth in 15 years

Audrey Hill
July 28, 2018

The next close approach, meanwhile, in 2020, will be 38.6 million miles (62 million kilometers), according to NASA. NASA notes that much has been made of the observation that the Neanderthals were the last before the 2003 approach to see Mars so favorably placed.

Mars Close Approach takes place about every 26 months, but since Earth and Mars don't have perfectly circular orbits, the shortest distance between the planets isn't always the same for each close approach.

The message is that Mars will look as big as the moon in our night sky, which isn't the case.

In 2003, Mars and Earth were the closest in almost 60,000 years - 55.7 million kilometres.

Experts also found out that these proton auroras occur a lot more frequently on Mars than the auroras on our planet, which has a powerful magnetic field. However, the planet will appear around the same brightness on the night of opposition and the night that it is making its closest approach to Earth.

Derek Demeter, the astronomy director at Seminole State College's planetarium, said the sight will be particularly spectacular through telescopes Friday because Mars will also be close to the moon around the time of the event.

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University of Toledo astronomers are inviting the public to observe Mars when the planet and the sun are on directly opposite sides of the Earth.

The cosmic coincidence which will see the 'God of War ' planet Mars shine in the sky during an eclipse has already got doomsday fans buzzing, but we're glad to report that it probably doesn't mean the apocalypse is nigh.

Of course, you can always step outside and check out the red planet with your naked eye.

That same day, parts of the world will see a total lunar eclipse called a blood moon, which could make the lunar surface look like it's been stained red. "Not quite as bright as Venus, but still because of the reddish, orange-ish-red color, you really can't miss it in the sky". Astronomers say we should be able to see it throughout early August. On Mars, they are the result of protons, and scientists have just figured out how the events happen.

The total lunar eclipse on Friday will be visible in Australia, Africa, Asia, Europe and South America.

They line up again at the same distance in 2287.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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