Mars to make closest approach to Earth since 2003

Mars to Shine Brighter Than It Has in 15 Years

Mars to Shine Brighter Than It Has in 15 Years

Every time you see Mars in the sky in the weeks ahead, NASA advises, "remember how much data scientists are gathering to better understand the mysterious weather of the Red Planet".

To start with, on 27 July, something called a Mars opposition will happen, when Mars, the Earth and the Sun all directly line up. Mars will be at a distance of 35.8 million miles (57.6 million kilometers).

"Mars wouldn't be almost this dusty if it wasn't for this one enormous deposit that is gradually eroding over time and polluting the planet, essentially", said study co-author Kevin Lewis from Johns Hopkins University. 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. Astronomers say we should be able to see it throughout early August.

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.

Due to the elliptical orbits taken by Earth and Mars around the sun they will to reach their closest point to each other until 3:50 a.m. EDT on July 31, according to

Mars to make closest approach to Earth since 2003

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. Its closest approach to Earth is July 31.

"The answer was thievery", said Justin Deighan, of the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado, Boulder, lead author of a paper on this research appearing July 23 in Nature Astronomy. That means Mars and the sun will be on exact opposite sides of Earth. NASA notes that many missions to Mars coincide with these close approaches. You can't miss it.

Mars will be at its brightest appearance since 2003 when Mars made its closest approach to Earth in nearly 60,000 years.

This won't happen again until 2287, Nasa has predicted.

Viewing the planets will require no protection, and are easily seen in a telescope, binoculars or with the unaided eye, Higgins added.

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