Mars will make closest approach to Earth in 15 years

Mars will make closest approach to Earth in 15 years

Mars will make closest approach to Earth in 15 years

Next week, the red planet is making its closest approach to Earth in 15 years.

The two planets will be just 57.6 million kilometres apart next Tuesday. And on Friday, Mars will be in opposition. That means Mars and the sun will be on exact opposite sides of Earth. That same day, parts of the world will see a total lunar eclipse.

Mars is already brighter than usual and will shine even more and appear bigger as Tuesday nears. Astronomers expect good viewing through early August. A massive dust storm presently engulfing Mars, however, is obscuring surface details normally visible through telescopes. The Martian atmosphere is so full of dust that NASA’s Opportunity rover can’t recharge not enough sunlight can reach its solar panels and so it’s been silent since June 10. Flight controllers don’t expect to hear from 14-year-old Opportunity until the storm subsides, and maybe not even then.

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