WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- The Red Planet will be closest to Earth on July 31, in 15 years, in a phenomenon called the Mars Close Approach.
- Experts say that this will be hard to miss as Mars can be seen on the sky “like a glowing orange beacon of light,” visible without using a telescope.
- This event occurs every 15 to 17 years with the last one occurring in 2003 and the next one on September 15, 2035.
Stargazers and astronomy enthusiasts can look forward this month of July because Mars will be nearer to Earth than it has been in 15 years, making it look larger and more brilliant than normal.
Dubbed as the Mars Close Approach, the event will make Mars only 35.8 million miles away, NASA said. The phenomenon will take place on July 31 when Mars’ and Earth’s orbits line up around the Sun. The Red Planet will appear low in the sky, attaining its highest point of 35 degrees over the southern horizon at midnight and will be visible to the naked eye for most of the night.
Before the event, between July 27 and 30, Mars will be in opposition with the Sun and will appear about three times brighter in the sky than it usually does.
It will stay that way for a couple of weeks before dwindling in mid-August as it moves away from Earth.
This event happens every 15 to 17 years. The 2003 Mars Close Approach was the closest it had been in 60 millenniums at 34.9 million miles away.
An astronomer of the Cincinnati Observatory, Dean Regas, told Mother Nature Network that this event would be almost as good as viewing it using a telescope.
“Mars will easily be visible to the naked eye,” the astronomer said. “In fact, you will be hard pressed to miss it. It will look like a glowing orange beacon of light rising in the southeast after sunset. It’ll be much brighter than any star, brighter than Jupiter, nearly as bright as Venus. And you’ll see it every night for the next several months.”