Mars Closest to Earth in 15 Years Today

Ismael LynchAug 01, 2018

By mid-August, Mars will lose its brightness, the planet and the Earth will be removed from each other, moving in their orbits around the Sun. But with a sulfuric-acid atmosphere and a surface temperature besting 800 degrees Fahrenheit (the hottest in the Solar System, even though Mercury is closer to the sun), Venus is not a viable option for human exploration. Hence, it will appear closest, brightest, biggest (from Telescope), Mr Kumar said. According to NASA, the Red Planet will be at a distance of 57.6 million kilometres.

Mars is, on average, about 140 million miles from Earth, but the approach happening this month will be the nearest the planet has been to us since 2003, at a distance of about 35.8 million miles away from Earth, according to NASA.

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. From July 27th-30th, the point in Mars' orbit will come closest to Earth, and will be closest to Earth before sunrise Eastern Time on July 31st.

He said general public can spot the Mars for many weeks easily with naked eye after sunset.

Now's the time to catch Mars in the night sky. Whereas at midnight one can see it above his head, in the morning it can be spotted in West and South West Direction, Mr Kumar explained.

Mars is about to be the closest it's been to Earth since 2003, giving us Earthlings the best view of the Red Planet in 15 years.

Transforming planets as a pre-cursor to colonisation is a staple of science fiction, and an aspiration for individuals including Elon Musk, whose company SpaceX uses images of terraforming Mars in its promotional material.

Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, Calif. will livestream the close approach, from 1 to 4 a.m. That encounter won't be beaten until 2287.

And we may never see the Red Planet so near for another 269 years. From July 27 to July 30 we were able to see the planet at its brightest, but tonight the visibility will not be much worse. Mars will reach opposition again before then.

Mars will next be close to Earth in October 2020.

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