Mars makes its closest approach in 15 years

Mars makes its closest approach in 15 years

Mars, the fourth planet from the sun, is going to be making its closest approach to Earth in 15 years on Monday night.

Here is when and how users can get the best view of Mars, and why this opposition is different from its previous versions.

Mars will be closer to Earth this month.

Now's the time to catch Mars in the night sky. Mars and Earth haven't been this near since 2003, and won't be again until 2035! The two planets will be just 57.6 million kilometres apart. At that time, the gap between the two planets was greater than it will be tomorrow.

By mid-August, the planet will become fainter as Mars and Earth travel farther away from each other in their orbits around the sun. In the evening half hour after sunset, look towards the sky opposite to sunset, and one can spot Planet mars between East and South East direction.

And we may never see the Red Planet so near for another 269 years.

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"It's a lovely bright orangery-red colour".

Bruce Jakosky of the University of Colorado, Boulder, lead author of the study appearing in Nature Astronomy, said: "Carbon dioxide (CO2) and water vapor (H2O) are the only greenhouse gases that are likely to be present on Mars in sufficient abundance to provide any significant greenhouse warming". It will be visible southeast of the moon, with a noticeably redder color than stars surrounding it. To view specific details of Mars' surface, stargazers can view the planet through a telescope. That includes the Mars polar cap, the tip of the largest volcano in the solar system and the dust storm.

There is presently a planet-wide dust storm on Mars, a phenomenon that is said to occur when the planet is closest to the sun in its orbit.

The Mars will be visible in the closest position to Earth in the Southern Hemisphere, not in India.

The next close approach, meanwhile, in 2020, will be 62 million kilometres, according to NASA.

However, for all the space enthusiasts out there, you can still witness the phenomenon in all its glory as NASA's Griffith Observatory is hosting a live stream on YouTube.

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