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Mars Is Making Its Closest Approach To Earth In 15 Years Right Now

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Mars Is Making Its Closest Approach To Earth In 15 Years Right Now

This morning, like right now, Mars is making its closest approach to Earth in 15 years.

There's been a lot going on recently up there, what with the recent blood moon and all that. We're struggling to keep up.

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But stick with us because this morning Mars will be just 35.8 million miles (57.6 million kilometres) away from Earth. Well, they're practically neighbours aren't they? Technically, in solar system talk, they are.

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You should be able to see Mars with your own eyes this morning - weather permitting of course - until around 9am GMT.

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.

Blood moon with Mars on the bottom right (white dot) in Nairobi on Friday, July 27. Credit: PA
Blood moon with Mars on the bottom right (white dot) in Nairobi on Friday, July 27. Credit: PA

The MailOnline reported that Mars is already brighter than usual and will shine even more- and appear bigger - as Tuesday nears. Astronomers expect good viewing through early August.

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Harry Augensen, Widener University astronomer, said: "It's magnificent. It's as bright as an airplane landing light.

"Not quite as bright as Venus, but still because of the reddish, orange-ish-red color, you really can't miss it in the sky."

In 2003, Mars and Earth were the closest in nearly 60,000 years at 34.6 million miles (55.7 million km) apart. NASA said that the planets won't be rubbing shoulders that closely again until 2287.

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But, the next close approach which is expected to happen in 2020 will see the pair with 38.6 million miles (62 million km) in between them, according to NASA.

Observatories across the US are hosting Mars-viewing events right now. Los Angeles' Griffith Observatory is providing a live online viewing.

Representatives from The Griffith Observatory said in a statement: "By a celestial coincidence, at the same time, Mars will be at its very best position for viewing through a telescope from Los Angeles, as it crosses the meridian and appears highest in the southern sky".

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The maximum separation of the two planets is about 249 million miles (401 million km), and the average distance between them is 140 million miles, or 225 million km.

So get yourselves outside guys, this isn't one to miss.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: solar system, Interesting, mars, planets, Community, Earth

Rebecca Shepherd
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