Mars to come closest to Earth in 15 years next month

Starting Friday night, Mars will be at "opposition", which occurs when the Earth lies directly between Mars and the sun, making the sun and Mars appear in opposite directions as viewed from the Earth.

So what's the big deal about the close approach?

In 2003, Mars and Earth were the closest in almost 60,000 years - 34.6 million miles. Its closest approach to Earth is July 31.

Mars and Earth line up just 57.6 million km apart at the end of July, equaling the proximity records set in 2003 and some 60,000 years before.

The red planet is easily visible with the naked eye, but folks with a telescope may be able to see some details of the planet, including the planet's ice caps, according to AccuWeather.

If you miss the Mars Close Approach next month, the next approach will be October 6, 2020.

If you've looked outside anytime after sunset recently, you've probably thought Mars looks a bit bigger than you remember it.

Experts also found out that these proton auroras occur a lot more frequently on Mars than the auroras on our planet, which has a powerful magnetic field.

Astronomers predict that the Mars will come close to the Earth in 5 years
Mars making closest approach to Earth in 15 years

On July 27, Mars will be in perihelic opposition, Express.co.uk reported on Sunday.

The Red Planet will be just 35.8 million miles away from humanity's homeworld next Tuesday.

Although it's still early to forecast, a large-scale weather pattern could bring clouds over the eastern states next week, as a southward plunge of the jet stream generates showers and thunderstorms, says weather.com meteorologist Chris Dolce. NASA notes that much has been made of the observation that the Neanderthals were the last before the 2003 approach to see Mars so favorably placed.

Rain and thunderstorms will also lead to poor viewing conditions across a swath of the central U.S.

They're hosting Mars Watch 2018 at the Brooks Observatory in McMaster Hall from 9:30 to 10:30 p.m. Thursday as well as July 30, July 31, and August 1. You can't miss it.

The total lunar eclipse on Friday will be visible in Australia, Africa, Asia, Europe and South America. On Mars, they can happen anywhere, and in large areas, said NASA.

The blood moon will be the longest total lunar eclipse of the 21st century and will occur just after 9pm United Kingdom time on Friday July 27.

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  • Douglas Reid