by Allen Cone
Washington (UPI) May 30, 2016
Space-gazers will get a treat starting Monday night.
Starting at 5:34 EDT, Mars will be the closest it has been to Earth since 2005, according to NASA.
How far out?
Around 46.8 million miles.
And if you miss seeing it tonight, Mars will remain around 48 million miles away until June 12.
Or you can wait two years on July 31 to see it even closer -- 35.8 million miles -- because Mars' orbit around the sun is elliptical.
On Aug. 27, 2003, Earth and Mars were only 34,646,418 miles apart.
Mars will be visible most of the night as it reaches its highest point around midnight. That's about 35 degrees above the southern horizon.
The closer encounter with Earth is one week after the Martian opposition -- when Mars and the sun lined up on exact opposite sides of the Earth. Every two years, Earth catches up to Mars' orbit and aligns with the red planet and the sun in a straight line.
Earth takes 365 days to orbit the sun but Mars takes 687 Earth days.
With the naked eye, the red planet will be a tiny blip. So, a telescope will offer a better view with possibly clouds and polar caps visible.
"Just look southeast after the end of twilight, and you can't miss it," Alan MacRobert, a senior editor of Sky & Telescope magazine, said. "Mars looks almost scary now, compared to how it normally looks in the sky."
Mars News and Information at MarsDaily.com
Lunar Dreams and more
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement|