Mars to make closest approach to Earth since 2003

Astronomers predict that the Mars will come close to the Earth in 5 years

If you miss the Mars Close Approach next month, the next approach will be October 6, 2020.

Mars will still be 35.8 million miles away though, so there's certainly no danger of it bumping into us. The closest it ever comes to Earth is 33.9 million miles.

Mars will shine bright and look bigger between now and Tuesday.

Every 15 or 17 years, opposition occurs within a few weeks of Mars' perihelion - the point in its orbit when it is closest to the Sun.

To find Mars, look to the southeastern sky around 11 p.m. Astronomers measure the night sky in degrees - the horizon is at zero, directly overhead is at 90 degrees.

When Mars and Earth are close to each other, Mars appears very bright in the sky. But the nearest distance between them keeps changing every year, as the planets can take varying time to orbit the sun. The best viewing of the planet will coincide with the lunar eclipse on Friday, July 27. With a small-to-moderate telescope you may be able to see the surface of Mars.

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During the month of July, Earth and Mars have been getting increasingly closer to one another and will be at their closest point since 2003 beginning this Friday, July 27.

When those high-speed incoming atoms hit the Martian atmosphere, some of their energy was emitted as ultraviolet light, which is invisible to the human eye but detectable to instruments like IUVS. Viewers in the USA will not be able to see the lunar eclipse.

However, there is a global dust storm obscuring the red planet that could continue through August and into September. This is when Mars should start to come into view from Earth. "Not quite as bright as Venus, but still because of the reddish, orange-ish-red color, you really can't miss it in the sky". For some, that means a chance to see a total lunar eclipse - the longest of the 21st century, but the eclipse won't be visible from the United States.

While the blood moon eclipse will not be visible from North America, it will visible across much of Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia, weather permitting.

Nasa has said that there is now a dust storm which is affecting the whole planet, so this may make seeing details on Mars a little more hard for astronomers.

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