This year the month of October holds a lot of celestial importance. previously we learned that this month we’ll get two full moons. The full Harvest Moon on October 1 and the Full Hunter’s Moon on the 31st. It does not stop there, as it turns out Mars will make its closest approach to Earth until the year 2035 this week. To observe the Red Planet pass by you musk keep your heads out towards the sky.
While you can see Mars in the skyline for the entirety of this month. However, there are two days this month when something big will happen. First up is October 6th, on this day Mars will make its closes journey from Earth. The second is October 13th when it will be in opposition.
According to NASA Mars’ orbit will come closes to Earth on October 6. For those of you who want to know how close the Red Planet will be about 38.59 million miles from Earth. This means we’ll still be pretty far away and safe you’re scared we were coming too close. The minimum distance that two planets can be from one another is about 38.59 million miles from Earth.
Interestingly Mars already made its closest approach to earth in 2003. It happened after approximately 60000 years. Nasa says that it will not happen again until 2287. However, this year is also pretty close and you don’t need anything special to watch this planet pass by. Mars is easy to spot in the night sky because of its orange color. while the planet is visible all night it is highest at midnight and since it is closer to Earth it will also be even more bright.
The closest approach to Mars this year will occur at 10 a.m. EDT on October 6th. You will be able to find this planet in the night sky just near the moon.
The Mars Approach:
NASA explained that you do not need big telescopes if want to see MARS this week. They said that “Simply go outside and look up and, depending on your local weather and lighting conditions, you should be able to see Mars.” It is also a pretty rare event and does not happen every year. In case you miss out on this the next one will occur on December 8, 2022. In addition, NASA said that you will have to wait for about 15 years before you see the planet look this good. This is because Mars has a tilted orbit as well as its characteristic gravitational pull.
NASA said that MARS only comes closer to earth like this, when it can be clearly seen, after 15 or 17 years. The next time we get similar conditions like this will be in 2035. Interestingly, Mars has a larger orbit than earth and it takes two earth cycles around the sun for it to complete one. This means that every once in a while we have the two planets at each opposite side of the sun. Scientists call this phenomenon Opposition.
This year as Mars comes closer to Earth we will also observe the opposition event. For people on the Earth, it will be a really interesting sight. Just as the sun sets in the west you will see Mars rising from the East. Opposite of which will occur in the next morning. The opposition also makes it easier to spot the planet in the sky. Since it is closer to Earth at this time it looks a lot brighter in the sky.
The opposition this year will occur at 7 p.m. EDT on October 13, according to EarthSky. Since Mars is closest to earth this month a lot of space agencies are looking to send their missions to the planet. NASA is also planning for NASA’s Mars 2020 mission. The latest exploration rover will land on the planet in February 2021.