The Red Planet, Earth’s second-closest cosmic cousin, has been a subject in our stories for decades. Between the promise of water underneath its icy surface and fantasies of martian visits, Mars doesn’t need to do much to be in everyone’s imagination.
But soon, the Red Planet is not just going to be close to our hearts, but also incredibly near to our planet – at approximately 62.1 million kilometers. The event will mark the closest approach it’ll be for the next 15 years. Here is what you need to know.
What Should You Know
Mars will get very close to our planet this week, a mere 62.1 million kilometers. Such a thing means that stargazing is highly recommended as the Red Planet will be big, bright, and easy to spot with or without a telescope. It’s better if you check out a sky chart before to figure out where Mars will be in the night sky in your region.
The good news is that Mars will be in a region of the night sky with few stars. If you’re lucky, you should also be able to spot Saturn and Jupiter shining close, brightly closer to the horizon. On October 6, we’ll be the absolute closest to Mars.
Why Does Mars Get So Close to Earth?
When Mars and our planet are both on slightly elliptical orbits, they can occasionally get very close to each other. And the closest encounter is when Earth is the furthest away from the Sun, known as aphelion, and the Red Planet is the closest to the Sun, the perihelion.
At that point, the two would be at approximately 54.6 million kilometers apart. The configuration is called an opposition, and it occurs every two years.
The upcoming event is a pretty unique chance that we won’t have again until 2035. So, make sure you spot Mars!
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