Mars arrives in opposition today, October 13th, and offers skywatchers an early Halloween treat.
During opposition, Mars, The earth and the sun form a straight line, with the earth in the middle. As a result, the red planet appears larger, brighter and redder than usual – and the planet will not come close to Earth again until 2035. According to a statement released by Sky & Telescope.
While Mars will be at its maximum apparent size when viewed through a telescope, the Red Planet has actually made it The closest approach To Earth last week, on October 6, when the two planets were separated by only 38.6 million miles (62 million km).
Mars orbits the Sun at a farther distance from the Earth and takes about 26 months to complete one orbit around the Sun. Because of these different orbital velocities, Mars shows It occurs every two years or so.
For this year’s Mars opposition, observers in the northern hemisphere will have an exceptional view of the red planet, which is farther north and higher in the sky than it was during the 2018 event, according to Sky & Telescope.
In fact, Mars would not be a relatively close and good location for northern observers again until it reached the opposition in 2052, making it Opposition this year “Gary Sironik,” Gary Sironik, consultant editor for Sky and Telescope, said in the statement.
For most of October, the red planet will appear brighter than any other object in its vicinity. Mars will rise in the east as the sun sets, and will peak in the night sky at midnight, when it is high above the southern horizon. While Mars is easily recognizable thanks to its reddish color, it is Visible to the naked eye During opposition, sky-watchers will still need a high-quality telescope to view its famous surface features in more detail.
The planet will continue to rise early and earlier in the weeks following the resistance, before gradually fading away. Then, by the end of November, Mars will be only a quarter as bright as it is tonight – or just a little Frightened of Sirius, The brightest star in the night sky, according to Sky & Telescope.
Mars also reached its so-called “present resistance” on 3 August. rock bottom It refers to the point in Mars’ orbit when it is closest to the Sun. Therefore, when Mars is closer to the Sun, it is closer to Earth during resistance. Since August, the red planet has been slowly moving away from the sun.
Editor’s note: If you have taken an amazing photo of Mars and want to share it with Space.com for a story or photo gallery, send comments and photos to [email protected].
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