Mars making closest approach to Earth in 15 years

Mars is now the closest to Earth than it has been in 15 years

Astronomers don't really know why or how long it will take before it goes away.

"It will look very big and bright in the night sky over the next four-five days".

When Mars slowly approaches what astronomers call opposition, it and the Sun are on opposite sides of the Earth.

The live link is here-while the broadcast is now over the recording lives on and, of course, it lives on in the sky too-just look up.

A spectacular celestial event will enthrall people between July 30 and 31. As the distance from the Sun increases the orbital period also increases. Last Friday, Mars was in opposition. NASA said that the planets won't be rubbing shoulders that closely again until 2287. The Red Planet will be just 57.6 million kilometers (35.8 million miles) away from Earth.

This phenomenon is expected to occur next in 2034.

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We may never see the red planet so near for another 269 years. The "red star" will be visible for much of the night. You will need a telescope with a large lens (6- to 8-inch in size) to be able to see the planet, and even then the clouds may obstruct your view.

A massive dust storm presently engulfing Mars, however, is obscuring surface details normally visible through telescopes.

The snapshot of Mars, captured on July 18, reveals that it is in the midst of a global dust storm, with spring in the southern hemisphere.

Today, Mars will be at its closest distance to Earth in a decade and a half. It turned out that carbon dioxide on the red planet is not enough, and most of the available carbon dioxide may not be emitted into the atmosphere.

Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles is the public viewing spot, where Mars can be seen with naked eye. The spectacle can be witnessed online on a YouTube live stream. The broadcast will continue till 4pm EST (1.30am IST on August 1).

The next Mars Close Approach will occur on October 6, 2020. At this point, the ringed planet was 1.4 billion kilometers (870 million miles) away from Earth and its spectacular rings are almost at maximum tilt toward the planet, offering a breathtaking angle of Saturn to photograph.

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