Mars zooms in for a close-up tonight … weather permitting

Mars zooms in for a close-up tonight … weather permitting

Mars zooms in for a close-up tonight … weather permitting

It is normally 250 million miles away from our planet. Furthermore, if mankind somehow invented a way to squeeze the Carbon dioxide from all the material on Mars (that's essentially impossible), it would only boost the atmosphere to around 6.9 percent of Earth's.

The distance between Earth and Mars changes throughout the year due to their elliptical shaped paths. (And when this last approach occurred, it was the first time in 60,000 years that Mars had come so close.) This occurrence follows last week's Mars event: On Friday (July 27), the Red Planet reached opposition with the sun and remained at its brightest in the night sky through Monday night and early today (July 31).

The last closest approach was in 2003, when Mars was 34.6 million miles (55.7 million kilometers) from Earth "and the closest it had been in almost 60,000 years", said NASA. That encounter won't be beaten until 2287. Mars, Sun and Earth will be in a straight line on Tuesday, with Sun and Mars on either sides of the Earth.

The MailOnline reported that Mars is already brighter than usual and will shine even more- and appear bigger - as Tuesday nears.

The next close approach, meanwhile, in 2020, will be 62 million kilometres, according to NASA.

NASA has captured many images of the planet-wide dust storm that has been affecting Mars since June this year. This rare phenomena will also be visible form India too. You can use a high powered telescope with a large lens to watch it.

Early this morning, Mars made its closest approach to Earth since 2003 - but if you missed it, the Red Planet is still a magnificent sight to see in the night sky.

If you missed it, don't believe any insane stories you may hear about its apparent size.

Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, Calif. will livestream the close approach, from 1 to 4 a.m.

"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. Additionally, gravitational pull of the planets within our solar system constantly affects the shape of their orbits, moving Mars' orbit even closer to the Earth.

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