On May 30, Mars Will Come Closer to Earth Than It's Been for Over a Decade

Wednesday, 11 May 2016 - 12:55PM
Astronomy
Earth
Mars
Wednesday, 11 May 2016 - 12:55PM
On May 30, Mars Will Come Closer to Earth Than It's Been for Over a Decade
On May 30, Mars will come 46.8 million miles from Earth, which will be the closest the two bodies have been since 2005. The Red Planet will be at its brightest and biggest this month (although not at the same time), and won't be this bright or close again until July 2018.

Approximately every two years, the Earth lines up between Mars and the Sun at opposition, causing the Red Planet to shine the brightest in the sky. Earth and Mars will be at opposition on May 22, but since they orbit the Sun on different planes, they won't be at their closest point until May 30. Mars will reach its highest point around midnight on the 30th, but will be visible for most of the night.

According to NASA, Mars will generally appear brightest in the sky from May 18 to June 3. By mid-June, Mars will start to become fainter from Earth as the orbits become further apart. This should be an amazing spectacle to witness, but it won't be the biggest or brightest that Mars can be. That phenomenon only happens every 15 to 17 years, and is set to happen again only two years from now, on July 25, 2018. The 2016 event has been dubbed the "Mars Close Approach," but the 2018 redux will be the "Mars Closest Approach."
Science
Space
Astronomy
Earth
Mars

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