Published: Thu, August 02, 2018
Research | By Clarence Powell

Mars makes its closest approach in 15 years

Mars makes its closest approach in 15 years

Because of both planets' elliptical orbits and the length of time it takes each planet to make it around the sun, Earth's best views of Mars only arrive every 15 to 17 years.

Nonetheless, Mars and Earth are at their closest approach to each other since 2003.

Mars is approximately 57.6 million kilometres from Earth right now. From July 27th-30th, the point in Mars' orbit will come closest to Earth, and will be closest to Earth before sunrise Eastern Time on July 31st.

When Mars and Earth are close to each other, Mars appears very bright in the sky. With Mars being further away from the Sun, researchers estimate a CO2pressure similar to Earth's total atmospheric pressure is needed to raise temperatures enough to allow for stable liquid water. Mars's next close approach is October 6, 2020.

Although studies investigating the possibility of terraforming Mars have been made before, the new result takes advantage of about 20 years of additional spacecraft observations of Mars. Check out this quick guide to help you get more out of your night sky photos.

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Mars will be closest to the Earth in a decade and a half today, on the night of July 31, 2018. Astronomers around the world trained their telescopes on the sky when Mars comes closer to Earth.

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Aside from the gorgeous image of the entire planet, the space telescope also managed to capture six of Saturn's 62 known moons including Dione, Enceladus, Tethys, Janus, Epimetheus, and Mimas. We won't censor or delete comments unless they contain off-topic statements or links, unnecessary vulgarity, false facts, spam or obviously fake profiles. "Look to the south tonight to see the Red Planet shining bright", it said.

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? With Mars and the Sun on either sides and Earth in the middle, the three celestial bodies will be in a straight line on Tuesday.

First, a lunar Eclipse happens once in 100 years, now is just another cosmic event. In the case of Mars, its brightest shades of red or orange will be visible.

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