Mars to appear very bright in tonight's sky

Cristina Cross
August 1, 2018

The next close approach between two planets will be 62 million kilometres in 2020, as per NASA.

Even though some water may have been discovered there, Mars has less than 1% of the atmospheric pressure of that on Earth.

The minimum distance from the Earth to Mars is about 33.9 million miles (54.6 million kilometers), and is rarely achieved.

Mars is particularly close to the Earth now because the two planets' orbits are roughly in the same point in their orbit around the sun.

Mars will be 57.6 million kilometres from Earth on Tuesday, hitting its highest point in the sky at about midnight. That was the closest in 60,000 years, and that kind of range won't happen again until the year 2287.

Dreams of transforming Mars into a habitable long-term human colony are scientifically impossible with current technology, according to a NASA-sponsored study. Mars looks like a bright, red star in the east every evening and in the west before dawn. Saturn will also be visible, as shown in the map below.

"Gobal dust storms - lasting for weeks or months - tend to happen during the spring and summer in the southern hemisphere, when Mars is closest to the Sun and heating is at a maximum to generate winds", it added.

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Mars will shine brightly and will appear to bigger than normal on Tuesday. If you can, try and check our our nighttime neighbor with a telescope.

If you look in the sky towards the east Tuesday night and then the south early Wednesday morning, you will see the red planet looking three times brighter than usual.

Observatories across the United States are hosting viewing events today to mark the occasion.

If you missed the peak at 1:00 a.m. ET today, don't worry; it will remain pretty close, providing great viewing opportunities until about the end of August.

Mars is the most Earth-like planet in our Solar System.

If you're having a good look out of the window you need to look to the southwestern sky and it should be visible low on the southwestern horizon with the moon shining to the upper left, according to Space.com.

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