This week, the popular Red planet is coming closer to saying ‘Hi' to earthlings!
So, it turns out Mars is not just closest to our heart but also to our actual planet of residence! This week, Mars is at its closest to Earth, giving you a golden opportunity to marvel at the Red Planet with your own eyes.
On October 6th, Mars nosedived within 38,568,816 miles of Earth (62,070,493 kilometers), making a smooth, close approach. This is the closest it will be for the next 15 years or until September 2035.
The Red Planet is quite visible, high in the eastern sky. It seems like a mesmerizing reddish light if the weather in your region permits to see it.
NASA wrote in a sky watching guide that October is the best month to view Mars. The red planet remains visible the entire night these days as it reaches the topmost point in our sky.
Earth and Mars move around the sun in an elliptical manner, orbiting in the same direction but at different speeds and at different distances from our stars. With this pattern, every 780 days, or every two years, Mars and Earth come closest to each other. So, this week they will be at their closest!
On October 13th, the Earth comes between the sun and Mars and they all line up in their respective orbits.
According to the Earthsky.org; when both the Mars and earth perfectly circles the sun and on the same plane, the Earth and Mars' distance becomes least on the Mars' opposition day. However, we don't live a perfectly symmetrical universe.
If you’re confused with the phenomenon, here’s a better explanation:
It was in 2018 when the last time Mars got closest to our planet; it was even closer in 2003—the pair made a historic approach.
Though the planet is still not as close as our moon is to Earth, it will not appear to be as big as the moon in the sky. But the Red planet will have an additional glow this October.
In fact, the brighter it gets, the more it will be visible as the moon in the sky.
You just have to look up, and spot the red glowing planet somewhere in the sky. This week is a once-in-years opportunity that we probably won’t get again until 2035. Don't forget to wave ‘Hi’ to Mars as it goes past you!