Mars Is About To Be The Closest To Earth In Ten Years And Here’s How To Witness The Magnificent Sight

by Conscious Reminder

If you are someone who is interested in the movement of stars and planets, or even if you are someone who just likes to look at the night sky after a long day, it might interest you to know that Mars is about to come closer to Earth than it has in the past fifteen years!

That’s right, Mars, the Red Planet rumoured to have water is about to make a pass so close to Earth that it is going to appear brighter in the sky than it has in over a decade.

This pass is about to occur on the 31st of July, when Mars will only be 57.6 million kilometres from Earth. This event will occur four days after the perihelic opposition, which is an astronomical event in which a planet is opposite the Sun from the Earth.

As the planets revolve around the Sun, the distance between them keeps increasing and decreasing. At it’s height, this distance can be over 400 million kilometres between Mars and Earth, which is, needless to say, quite big number of zeros!

Along the course of revolution however, the planets come in close contact every 26 months or so. This close encounter is what is known as perihelic opposition, and this is exactly what is about to take place on 31st July.

Even someone without much knowledge in astronomy can say that 57.6 million kilometres is significantly closer to Earth than 401 million kilometres, which is the distance between Mars and Earth when they are farthest from each other.

Owing to this considerably short distance between the two planets, Mars will appear exceptionally bright in the sky on the night of 31st July, and unless you live in an exceptionally polluted area, you might even be able to see the red tint that is the distinguishing characteristic of the planet Mars.

Mars will rise in the night sky as the Sun sets, reflecting the setting rays of the Sun and appearing a dazzling red in colour. It is expected that the best time for viewing Mars will be around midnight, with the planet being quite high up in the sky.

Mars will start coming closer to Earth from 7th July and will begin to look brighter with each passing day, till it reaches its peak on the last day of the month. This unusual brightness of Mars is likely to last till 7th of September, and during this period Mars will outshine Jupiter, becoming the fourth brightest celestial body that can be seen with a naked eye from Earth.

You can locate the planet using apps such as Sky Map but it will not be very difficult, given its brightness and characteristic red tone.

However, this is not the closest that Mars has ever been to Earth. That record was made in 2003, when the measured distance between the two planets was only 55.7 million kilometres. This was the closest pass that was ever made in 60 thousand years, and this record will remain unchanged for another 200 years. This will only happen on 28th August, 2287 when Mars comes even closer to Earth.

Towards the end of July, it is very likely that false stories exaggerating the appearance of Mars on the day of perihelic opposition will go viral on the internet, but it would be wise to not put too much faith into such hoaxes.

While Mars can never appear as big as the Moon in the night sky, it will definitely appear considerably brighter and larger than it usually does, and it will be quite spectacular to look at, as well.


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