Published: Thu, August 02, 2018
Science | By Dan Gutierrez

Mars close to Earth USA: How to watch approach again

Mars close to Earth USA: How to watch approach again

'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'.

The Griffith Observatory will hold a public viewing event Monday evening as the Earth experiences a close encounter with Mars.

But, when and where can I see it?

This year's close approach is not a record-breaker.

"Mars will be closest today, 31 July, but it will be very close for many weeks meaning telescope owners can get superb close-up views for a couple of months at least", said David Moore, editor of Astronomy Ireland magazine.

When you look up at the night sky this weekend, don't be surprised to see a bright red addition to the usual collection of stars.

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

Astronomers say we should be able to see it throughout early August.

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.

Earth's neighboring planet, Mars, is closer than it has been in the past 15 years, offering unusually bright views of the Red Planet's auburn hues.

Back in 2003, Earth and Mars were "only" 56 million kilometres apart- the closest it came in over 60,000 years and according to NASA estimates it will not happen again till 2287.

This doesn't necessarily mean that the dream of living on Mars is dead, but it does suggest that the Red Planet's most important industry could be selling and maintaining reliable spacesuits. Particularly since at the moment, it's at its closest proximity to the Earth for 15 years. "Both Mars and the Earth orbit the sun but their orbits are not exactly circular, so there are points where they come closer together, and this is one of them". Even if this loss were prevented somehow, allowing the atmosphere to build up slowly from outgassing by geologic activity, current outgassing is extremely low; it would take about 10 million years just to double Mars' current atmosphere, according to the team. So, while it won't remain this bright in the night sky for long, it will be brilliant long enough for everyone to take a look.

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