Mars making closest approach to Earth in 15 years


On Friday, Mars will be in opposition, which means the sun and the Red Planet will be on the opposite side of Earth.

The next close approach will occur in 2020. 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.

Of course, you will get the best look at the close approach through a telescope, but if you don't have one and you want to see the planet closer up, then it could be worth contacting your local planetarium or astronomy centre to see if they're holding any special events for it. Mars will be a "mere" 36 million miles from Earth, according to NASA, before both planets travel farther away from each other as they orbit the sun.

If the weather does not cooperate for stargazers, there should still be plenty of opportunities to see the planet in the coming weeks.

The gravitational pull by other planets also constantly changes the shape of their orbits a little bit, with Jupiter especially influencing the path that Mars takes around the Sun.

Mars' next close approach is October 6, 2020.

On July 27, Mars will be in perihelic opposition, reported on Sunday.

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The two planets will be just 35.8 million miles (57.6 million kilometers) apart next Tuesday.

Although it's still early to forecast, a large-scale weather pattern could bring clouds over the eastern states next week, as a southward plunge of the jet stream generates showers and thunderstorms, says meteorologist Chris Dolce.

They're hosting Mars Watch 2018 at the Brooks Observatory in McMaster Hall from 9:30 to 10:30 p.m. Thursday as well as July 30, July 31, and August 1. On that date, Mars will be in opposition, meaning the orbit of Earth and Mars will form a straight line with the sun.

'Not quite as bright as Venus, but still because of the reddish, orange-ish-red colour, you really can't miss it in the sky'.

Hubble, one of the largest space telescopes, captured images of dust storms on the Red Planet this summer.

The total lunar eclipse on Friday will be visible in Australia, Africa, Asia, Europe and South America. The planets aren't expected to be that close again until 2287, according to NASA. It also coincides with the longest total lunar eclipse of the 21st century, which will last 1 hour, 43 minutes.