Mars makes its closest approach in 15 years

  • Mars makes its closest approach in 15 years

Mars makes its closest approach in 15 years

This is the point when Mars' orbit comes closest to our planet meaning it will be visible for much of the night.

A map of the sky that shows Mars and Saturn, as they can be seen from NY on July 31 at 11 pm.

Mars, the fourth planet from the sun, is going to be making its closest approach to Earth in 15 years on Monday night.

The planet will actually be closest to Earth at around 9am on Wednesday morning - a close proximity that we won't witness again for another 30 years.

In 2003, Mars and Earth were the closest in almost 60,000 years - 34.6 million miles (55.7 million kilometers). The dust storm will engulf the surface of Mars and will be visilble mormally through a telescope. Mars will be at a distance of 57.6 million kilometers.

If you missed the peak at 1:00 a.m. ET today, don't worry; it will remain pretty close, providing great viewing opportunities until about the end of August.

You can even look back at some of the views from Mars' closest point in a webcast that filmed the event live from the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles.

The image of Saturn was taken on June 6 when its ring system was near its maximum tilt towards Earth, allowing for a lovely view of the rings and the gaps between them.

People who have watched the lunar eclipse on July 27, 2018 might also have noticed Mars in the sky, few degrees below the moon.

Observatories across the USA are hosting Mars-viewing events.

At its closest approach, Mars shone at a magnitude of minus 2.8, which is twice as bright as Jupiter but dimmer than Venus (lower magnitudes mean it looks brighter).

"There's one very bright orange-coloured star in the sky".

There is presently a planet-wide dust storm on Mars, a phenomenon that is said to occur when the planet is closest to the sun in its orbit. Astronomers don't really know why or how long it will take before it goes away. As sunsets begin creeping up even earlier in late summer and early autumn, viewers will be able to see the planet higher in the evening sky.