Mars Is Closer To Earth This Week Than It Will Be For 15 Years
This week, Mars will be closer to planet Earth than it will be for the next 15 years.
Mars, the fourth planet from our Sun, is currently situated just north of the celestial equator – essentially an extension of Earth’s equator into outer space – meaning Mars is in a good position to be seen both hemispheres.
Mars’ current position creates ideal conditions for sky watchers from both hemispheres to get a look at the red planet, which will make a close approach to Earth on October 6.
You can check out more NASA sky watching tips for October 2020 below:
Orbiting approximately 38.6 million miles (62.07 million kilometres) from Earth, Mars will be visible in the southern sky for much of the night, and will reportedly reach its highest point at around midnight.
According to the NASA Science Mars Exploration Program:
This time of excellent Mars viewing coincides with opposition, when Mars is directly on the opposite side of Earth from the Sun. This lineup happens about every two years.
During this opposition, Mars and Earth are closest to each other in their orbits. That means Mars is at its brightest, so go out and take a look!
This is the closest Mars will come to our planet for the next 15 years. Even without a telescope, the size and brightness of Mars will make it easy to see, so star gazers are being encouraged to get out there.
After this period, Mars will fade from our earthly view, as the two planets once again travel further apart in their respective orbits around the Sun.
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CreditsNASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory/YouTube and 1 other
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory/YouTube
NASA Science Mars