Mars is Making its Closest Approach to Earth in 15 Years

Mars is now the closest to Earth than it has been in 15 years

Mars is now the closest to Earth than it has been in 15 years

If you do, you'll get to see Mars up close for the first time since 2003, when it last made an approach like this. This proximity gives the Red Planet its brightest appearance in the night sky since the 2003 opposition.

But, when and where can I see it?

And we could probably put human beings on Mars in a couple of decades - they would just have to live in enclosed habitats and wear space suits while walking around outside.

According to NASA this phenomena will not take place again until 2287.

This will be third and the last celestial treats - solar eclipse, lunar eclipse and brighter Mars - that were lined up in July.

Our red planet neighbour has been visible and prominent in the sky over our fair city for several days now, with tonight being the best and brightest.

Mars was in opposition on July 27, while Saturn was in opposition a month earlier on June 27, so Earth has been getting spoiled with wonderful glimpses of its neighboring planets in the past few months.

The minimum distance from the Earth to Mars is about 33.9 million miles (54.6 million kilometers), and is rarely achieved.

During opposition, Mars is especially photogenic because it can be seen fully illuminated by the Sun as viewed from Earth.

While Mars is getting all the headlines in August, Jupiter and Saturn are also fantastic telescope targets, with Jupiter's moons and Saturn's ring system. In 2003, Mars and Earth were the closest in almost 60,000 years - 55.7 million kilometres.

The Red Planet peaked in its orbit around 12.45am PT on Monday morning, or before sunrise on the East Coast. Global dust storms - lasting for weeks or months - tend to happen during the spring and summer in the southern hemisphere, when Mars is closest to the Sun and heating is at a maximum to generate winds.

Whenever a planet is at Opposition, planet in question would be closest in its orbit to earth than any other time.

Observatory Director Ed Krupp remarked, "Mars is invading us tonight".

NASA's Mars Science Laboratory mission, Mars Curiosity took to Twitter and wrote,"I feel so close to you right now".

Earth and Mars will come closer on Tuesday, July 31 than they have in 15 years. At nightfall Jupiter is shining brightly in the south-southwestern sky, and Saturn is just off to the lower left in the low south-southeast.

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