August 20, 2018

Mars closest to earth in 15 years today

01 August 2018, 12:45 | Edward Lowe

Mars Close Approach: How to view the celestial event

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

"If Earth and Mars followed perfectly circular orbits, opposition would be as close as the two planets could get", NASA said on its website.

Greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2) would be vital to do this, but they are not present on Mars in high enough quantities to provide any significant greenhouse warming, said Dr Bruce Jakovsky. There's still one big problem that would make life hard for a human settlement on Mars, and that is its lack of atmosphere. Astronomers around the world trained their telescopes on the sky when Mars comes closer to Earth.

Now's the time to catch Mars in the night sky.

The closest approach on Tuesday will make Mars brightest since 2003. The two planets will be just 57.6 million kilometres apart.

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Mars will be seen rising from the Gemini constellation in India tonight (July 31).

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.

Mars will be at its closest distance to Earth in 15 years tonight, wrapping up a memorable month for stargazers.

If you want to watch online Mars closest to Earth, you can also view the phenomenon on a YouTube live stream. Technically, in solar system talk, they are.

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Aldrin added that reaching these ambitious goals will require innovation, and he hopes that he can "inspire the next generation" to take these massive steps.

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).

But the dust reflects sunlight, which enables Mars to appear even brighter from Earth, Mr Nagle says.

Although people viewing Mars from low latitudes and from the Southern Hemisphere will have the clearest view of the the Red Planet, Mars will be visible worldwide. Astronomers don't really know why or how long it will take before it goes away.

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