Published: Wed, August 01, 2018
Science | By Cecil Little

Mars Close Approach: How to view the celestial event

Mars Close Approach: How to view the celestial event

In reality, at Mars' closest approach, the moon still appeared 75 times larger than the Red Planet, while Mars appeared as an extremely bright, star-like object that was visible for much of the night.

On this night, Mars came strikingly close to Earth on its orbit, approaching within 35.8 million miles of our home planet.

In some cases, as the two planets get closer to each other, the Earth - being closer to the sun - comes between the star and the red planet.

In 2003, Mars and Earth were the closest in almost 60,000 years - 34.6 million miles (55.7 million kilometers).

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In the 1898 science fiction novel War of the Worlds, the invading Martian forces bring a red weed with them that begins to kill off Earth's plant life to make the planet habitable for the Martians.

The best view of Mars happened early Tuesday morning, but you can still see it Tuesday night, from anywhere in the world, if you simply look up.

Though Mars is closest to the Earth in 15 years is a phenomenon for our generation, it is nowhere as big a deal as it was in 2003.

But just in case you miss Mars Close Approach this year, the next one is scheduled to take place on October 6, 2020.

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Although Mars reached its closest point in 15 years when most of us were still asleep at around 3:50 a.m. ET, there's no need to worry.

Mars gets closest to Earth on July 31: What is Mars' opposition? Though the two planets will be at closest distances to each other, they will still be 57.6 million km apart.

One popular public viewing spot was the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, where Mars was visible with the naked eye as a bright orange spot in the sky, according to a live broadcast held to mark the celestial event. So you reaaly can't miss it. According to estimates of NASA, similar phenomena will not take place again till the year 2287. Additionally, gravitational pull of the planets within our solar system constantly affects the shape of their orbits, moving Mars' orbit even closer to the Earth. To view specific details of Mars' surface, stargazers can view the planet through a telescope.

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