Mars to appear three times bigger tonight as it comes closest to Earth
All through the month of July, the orbits of Earth and Mars have been steadily aligning in a rare event which sees Mars, Earth, and the sun align with Earth in the middle
Attention, stargazers. Here is your chance to be treated to a much clearer view of Mars as the red planet is going to appear bigger and brighter on Tuesday night than it has in the last 15 years. The orbits of Earth and Mars have brought the two planets as close to each other as they'll ever be and the distance between them will be less than 56 million kilometers.
According to Daily Mail, all through the month of July, the orbits of Earth and Mars have been steadily aligning in quite a rare phenomenon which is also known as 'perihelic opposition', something that happens when Mars, Earth, and the sun align with Earth being in the middle.
As a result of this astronomical phenomenon, Mars is going to appear almost three times larger than normal in the night sky. According to NASA, the orbit of Mars only brings the red planet this close to Earth every 15 to 17 years, which means that the next time Mars is going to be seen this prominently in the night sky will be in 2035.
I feel so close to you right now. #Mars and Earth haven't been this near since 2003, and won't be again until 2035! Look to the south tonight to see the Red Planet shining bright. https://t.co/2R4uKiIPsQ pic.twitter.com/d6N3C0y8Rx— Curiosity Rover (@MarsCuriosity) July 30, 2018
If yo're lucky enough to have clear skies, you'll be able to see the red planet in all its glory today. However, it has been also reported that astronomers in the southern hemisphere will be treated to the best view of this phenomenon since Mars will appear higher in the night sky.
As per the information released by NASA, the moment of closest approach is going to be at 8:45am BST (3:45am EDT) July 31, a time when Mars was not invisible to amateur stargazers in Europe, Africa, Russia and Asia as it was daylight. Once the sun sets today, those looking up at the night sky with their naked eye will be treated to a stunning view of Mars.
This latest astronomical phenomenon comes after last week's lunar eclipse. It was also reported that Mars was prominent in the sky along with the blood moon. The celestial event was also announced as the longest lunar eclipse in the 21st century.