Mars Earth Approach - Closest to Planet Since 2013

Matt Damon in The Martian
Credit
Aidan Monaghan

Mars, considered the second smallest planet in the Solar System, is popular among the astronomers as the Red Planet, and as the only planet most likely to host life apart from the Earth.

The last time Mars got this close to Earth was on August 27, 2003, when it was a bit closer - 34,646,418 miles away.

"Not quite as bright as Venus, but still because of the reddish, orange-ish-red colour, you really can't miss it in the sky".

Mars and the Earth will today come closer than they have for over a decade today.

But, when and where can I see it?

The teams still have plenty of time to flawless their designs: it could be decades before a manned mission to Mars takes place.

If you're having a good look out of the window you need to look to the southwestern sky and it should be visible low on the southwestern horizon with the moon shining to the upper left, according to Space.com.

"If that were true, we'd be in big trouble given the gravitational pulls on Earth, Mars and our Moon", NASA says.

Mars also has seasons, due in part to its 25-degree axial tilt, which is similar to Earth's 23.5-degree tilt. During its opposition, Mars came as close as only 57.6 million kilometers (35.7 million miles) away from Earth.

Large telescopes in the University of Colombo will be open to the General Public on 31st July 2018 to watch Planet Mars as well as the most attractive planet Saturn till 10.00 p.m.

The two stellar bodies will not meet again this close for another 17 years. Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles will be hosting a live stream of the event. In the evening, half-an-hour after sunset, looking towards the sky opposite direction to sunset, one can spot planet Mars between East and South East direction. The reason for this unique sight is that our neighboring planet is making its closest approach to Earth in 15 years.

Planet Mars is set to be visible from the Earth's surface on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, as the Red Planet is to pass closer to Earth overnight than it has ever been in the last 15 years.

The next Mars Close Approach will occur on October 6, 2020.

Now that we've gotten all of that out of the way, what does this mean for you, the novice astronomer or general sky-watcher?

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