Mars closest to earth in 15 years today

02 August, 2018, 15:45 | Author: Grady Montgomery
  • Matt Damon in The Martian
Credit
Aidan Monaghan

There's plenty of summer left and the night sky is dark enough for star hunting by 10 p.m.

As there will be other planets in good position for viewing at that time, there will also be telescopes set up on the UA Mall directed at Venus, Jupiter, Saturn and the Moon run by volunteers from Mt. Lemmon SkyCenter and Tucson Amateur Astronomy Association. The red planet will appear at its brightest since 2003, when Mars made its closest approach to Earth in nearly 60,000 years.

The planet Mars comes in for a close-up tonight, the biggest this world has seen in 15 years.

This proximity interprets that the Earth is in "opposition" with Mars - meaning that it is sitting directly between the Sun and the planet.

Mars will be visible in the night sky after sunset till sunrise from everywhere in India, provided the monsoon clouds don't play spoilsport. Meanwhile, the planet's next close approach will be 38.6 million miles which will take place in 2020. That was the closest we've been to Mars since 57,617 BC.




The event, called Mars Close Approach, occurs when Mars is 35.8 million miles away from Earth, closer than normal.

The project has been built on the NASA-backed virtual reality simulation game Mars 2030 which gives people a 3D Martian experience without having to travel 55 million kilometres to get there.

Cousin Opportunity is also drilling - it's a robot geologist looking at the possible history of Mars, including what effect water might have had on the landscape. We won't censor or delete comments unless they contain off-topic statements or links, unnecessary vulgarity, false facts, spam or obviously fake profiles. Thanks to NASA, we know that this kind of event, when the two planets are as close as now, will not happen again before 2287, therefore we simply can not miss it.

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. On August 27, 2003, Mars was just 34.6 million miles from the Earth - the nearest it had been in 60,000 years. We may colonize the Red Planet yet, but it's not going to be as easy as releasing the carbon dioxide trapped in the planet. 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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