Mars and Earth will be closer than they have been in the last 15 years. The event will take place throughout the month of July as a result of a unique phenomenon known as "Perihelian opposition".
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Stargazers will soon be able to see Mars better in the night sky, as the Red Planet is expected to approach Earth more than it has been for the past 15 years.
The two planets will approach each other in their orbits around the sun due to a phenomenon, which is known as "Perihelian opposition".
Mars Opposition: Mars Closer and Closer to Earth In 2018
the opposition of Mars is a phenomenon that occurs once every two years. It happens when the Earth pbades directly between Mars and the Sun and, as a result, brings the two closest planets closer together. The phenomenon was last observed in May 2016.
This year, scientists expect to observe the same event that takes place once again, but this time, as one that occurs once or twice every 15 to 17 years.
What makes it unique is that, in addition to bringing Mars closer to Earth, it will also take the red planet to the point closest to the sun in its orbit within a few weeks of the opposition.
A Bright Orange light in the night sky
As a result, Mars and Earth will approach each other in the coming weeks. The red planet is expected to appear at its brightest point in the sky on the morning of July 31.
Stargazers and astronomers can easily see the planet as a bright orange light with a telescope or simply with the naked eye. The distance between the two planets, according to NASA, will cover about 35.8 million miles.
"Mars will be easily visible to the naked eye, in fact, it will be hard not to see it, it will look like a glow an orange lighthouse that will rise in the southeast after sunset, it will be much brighter than any star, brighter Jupiter, almost as bright as Venus, and you'll see it every night for the next few months. " said Dean Regas, an astronomer at the Cincinnati Observatory, to Mother Nature Network.
The last "perihelic opposition" took place in 2003, which is considered the closest approach in almost 60,000 years, according to NASA. In addition, this record is expected to remain until the year 2287.
Why does the minimum distance between Mars and Earth keep changing?
According to the laws of nature, if Mars and Earth have exactly the same circular orbits, the minimum distance between them, which is approximately 33.9 million miles, will always remain the same. However, because both follow elliptical or oval orbits, the distance always changes from time to time.
In addition, other factors also contribute to the changes. Other planets in the solar system, such as Jupiter in particular, also have an effect on the shape of the orbit of Mars.
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