Mars close approach: Get a look at the red planet

28 July, 2018, 08:03 | Author: Grady King
  • Astronomers predict that the Mars will come close to the Earth in 5 years

University of Toledo astronomers are inviting the public to observe Mars when the planet and the sun are on directly opposite sides of the Earth.

When Mars and Earth are close to each other, Mars appears very bright in the sky. Its closest approach to Earth is July 31.

"The reason Mars is becoming so bright is the fact that we are approaching Mars' opposition; this is the time when Earth will be directly between the planet and the sun", AccuWeather Astronomy Blogger Dave Samuhel said. On July 31, the planets will be 35.8 million miles apart.

It will be visible much of the night, so just look for a bright star with a reddish hue.

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Experts also found out that these proton auroras occur a lot more frequently on Mars than the auroras on our planet, which has a powerful magnetic field. The next close approach, meanwhile, in 2020, will be 38.6 million miles (62 million kilometers), according to NASA.

For Powell River residents seeking to view the planet from the comfort of their own homes, there is no need to go to a particularly dark place or use a telescope to see it. Mars will appear on the horizon at around 9:30 pm each evening, starting in the southeast at the bottom right in relation to the moon, and rise throughout the night. Only Venus will appear brighter. That is the point in Mars' orbit when it comes closest to Earth.

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

Hubble, one of the largest space telescopes, captured images of dust storms on the Red Planet this summer. You can't miss it.

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Rain and thunderstorms will also lead to poor viewing conditions across a swath of the central U.S.

This won't happen again until 2287, Nasa has predicted.

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. For some, that means a chance to see a total lunar eclipse - the longest of the 21st century, but the eclipse won't be visible from the United States.

The total lunar eclipse on Friday will be visible in Australia, Africa, Asia, Europe and South America.

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