Mars opposition: Red Planet set for wonderful close encounter with Earth

Rodiano Bonacci
Giugno 19, 2018

The reason that Mars will come so close to Earth can be explained by the particular characteristics of the planets' orbits.

The two planets will come closer to each other in their orbits around the sun due to a phenomenon, which is known as "perihelic opposition". Earth makes two trips around the sun in about the same amount of time that Mars takes to make one trip.

Some perihelic oppositions bring Earth and Mars closer together than others. The phenomenon was last observed in May 2016.

Mars only comes close enough to allow this kind of view every 15 to 17 years.

Astronomers and stargazers will get a chance to get up close and personal with Mars over the next six weeks, as the Earth passes between the Red Planet and the sun.

As a result, Mars and Earth will come closer to each other over the next few weeks.

The red planet will be able to be seen by the naked eye throughout July, outshining all but the brightest stars. The distance between the two planets, according to NASA, will cover around 35.8 million miles.

"Mars will be visible from almost everywhere on Earth in July after sunset (only folks in the far north like Alaska, northern Canada, Greenland and Iceland won't be able to see it since it won't clear the southern horizon)-but all of the mainland US, most of Canada, Europe and Asia, all of Africa, Central and South America, Australia, and Antarctica can see Mars in July", Regas said.

"In fact, you will be hard pressed to miss it", Regas told Newsweek. It will look like a glowing orange beacon of light rising in the southeast after sunset.

"Currently the brightest "star", Mars will triple in brightness leading up to July 27". "And you'll see it every night for the next several months".

On July 31, when Mars will be at its brightest, it will be 57.6 million kilometres away from Earth, according to The Weather Channel. What's more, this record is expected to stand until the year 2287. Last month, Jupiter was in opposition to our planet, swinging within 658 million km of Earth.

Yet the orbits of both planets are slightly tilted, and follow different paths. "Gravitational tugging by the other planets constantly changes the shape of our orbits a little bit".

Altre relazioniGrafFiotech

Discuti questo articolo

Segui i nostri GIORNALE