Mars to come closest to Earth in 15 years - USA

Mars to come closest to Earth in 15 years - USA

On July 27, Mars is slated to come the closest to Earth in the last 15 years; a phenomenon that will make the Red Planet appear the brightest since 2003.

This year, Mars opposition will occur on July 27, according to NASA.

Due to the nature of Earth and Mars' respective orbits, the distance between the two is remarkably inconsistent from year to year.

This event which will be occurring is known as Perihelic opposition, and in this, the Earth and Mars will be aligned and bring the two planets close to each other.

During opposition, Mars is especially photogenic because it can be seen fully illuminated by the Sun as viewed from Earth.

In 2016, the planets were at the opposite ends of their orbits, with 75.6 million kilometers between them, making Mars appear very small.

This means that Earth makes two trips around the Sun in about the same time it takes for Mars to make one trip. Mars will be visible to the naked eye for most of the night.

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Sky enthusiasts will be out in the coming weeks as experts say Mars is set to be the brightest it has been in over a decade. "In fact, you will be hard pressed to miss it", Cincinnati Observatory astronomer Dan Regas said, The Weather Channel reported.

While Mars opposition happens every two years, this time it will be a special occasion as the planet will also reach its closest point to the sun, the perihelion in its orbit. It'll be much brighter than any star, brighter than Jupiter, almost as bright as Venus.

"The storm is one of the most intense ever observed on the Red Planet", NASA said in a statement last week.

This clearly wasn't true, because Mars is only half the size of Earth and is about 34 million miles away.

Why The Minimum Distance Between Mars And Earth Keeps Changing?

If the planets had perfectly stable orbits, then a perihelic opposition would bring the planets as close as they could possibly come to each other. Mars will be in triple the brightness on July 27th, 2018. "And you'll see it every night for the next several months". It is expected to be brightest in the hours before sunrise of Tuesday, July 31.

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