Mars making closest approach to Earth in 15 years

Mars to Shine Brighter Than It Has in 15 Years

If you miss the Mars Close Approach next month, the next approach will be October 6, 2020. Mars will be at a distance of 35.8 million miles (57.6 million kilometers).

Proton auroras do occur at Earth, but not as often as at Mars.

As Mars draws near, it will grow brighter and appear larger.

This is a particularly good year for viewing Mars as it will be making its closest approach to Earth in 15 years.

Astronomers predict that the Mars will come close to the Earth in 5 years
Mars making closest approach to Earth in 15 years

Mars will rise in the southeast around sunset and slowly track across the sky throughout the night before setting to the southwest around sunrise, local time. Mars made its closest approach to Earth in almost 60,000 years back in 2003, when its center was 34,646,418 miles from Earth's.

"An opposition can occur anywhere along Mars" orbit.

Because Earth and Mars follow elliptical orbits, some Earth-Mars encounters are closer than others.

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

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The Red Planet begins to brighten discernibly in June as the gap closes, and it will turn on an exceptional show for sky watchers from Jul 27 to 30.

When those high-speed incoming atoms hit the Martian atmosphere, some of their energy was emitted as ultraviolet light, which is invisible to the human eye but detectable to instruments like IUVS.

On Friday, Mars will be in opposition, which means the sun and the Red Planet will be on the opposite side of Earth. If the storm doesn't break, skywatchers may only see a big orange disk, according to Mike Lynch, an amateur astronomer and professional meteorologist writing for twincities.com in Minneapolis. Areas from the Plains to the West would have the best view of Mars as it passes Earth.

It will also be important to be patient and comfortable.

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Mars arrives at opposition on the same day as July's full moon. Only Venus will appear brighter.

The Mars opposition falls just before the longest total lunar eclipse of the century, which will last 1 hour and 43 minutes.

The days leading up to and just after July 27 will be prime days to view Mars.

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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