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Mars Close Approach: How to view the celestial event

01 August 2018

There is not enough carbon dioxide on the red planet for future colonies to alter warm the atmosphere to make it closer to that on Earth, a study has found. This year, Mars' opposition took place at the same time the blood moon was visible on July 27.

By mid-August, the planet will become fainter as Mars and Earth travel farther away from each other in their orbits around the sun.

At only 35.8 million miles / 57.6 million kilometres from us, the Red Planet is closer to Earth this summer than at any time during the 32-year interval 2003 - 2035, allowing those with clear skies and without light pollution to see it quite clearly.

The last such event was in 2003 when Mars and Earth came the closest they had in almost 60,000 years - touching within 34.6 million miles (55.7 million kilometres) of each other.

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When the Sun, Earth and Mars are lined up, with Earth sitting in between, a phenomenon called "opposition" is in effect, giving the brightest view of Mars.

On the night of 31 July, Mars will be closest to the Earth in 15 years.

NASA has captured many images of the planet-wide dust storm that has been affecting Mars since June this year.

Mars will be visible with a telescope or the naked eye by looking south, but it will not be as big as the moon as one urban legend says.

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"Right now, Mars is at its highest in the South around 1:30am and looks like the brightest "star" in the sky with a definite orange/red colour - I saw it this morning before dawn", he said.

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

Today, Mars will be at its closest distance to Earth in a decade and a half. Thought the best location to witness the celestial phenomenon is in the southern hemisphere, it will also be visible from most parts of India. So, all the space enthusiasts, who are keen to watch this phenomenon, you need not worry.

Mars will next be close to Earth in October 2020.

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Mars and Earth will be 38.6 million miles apart at that point.

Mars Close Approach: How to view the celestial event