Mars, our neighbor in the solar system, is expected to make its nearest approach to Earth in 15 years. This uncommon event will give all amateurs of astronomy a great opportunity to observe with the naked eye how the planet changes its color to bright red-orange.
When it comes to brightness, the Red Planet is the second most luminous planet in the sky, only behind Venus, and at the same time no star can match its brightness. As at the moment of its closest approach, on July 27, Mars will emerge almost precisely on the opposite side of the sky compared to the sun, the planet will appear enormously bright, resembling a full moon.
Why is this event so special?
According to some of the astronomers, it is definitely the most important event in the sky in 2018. But why exactly is this year’s closest approach so special? To start with, we need to mention that the orbits of Earth and Mars are not identical since it takes significantly more time for Mars to circulate the sun. Even though both move in the same direction, they are usually in different places on their orbits. Since Earth moves faster than Mars, once in 26 months it passes next to the Red Planet, and such event is going to happen on July 27. Actually, because of some other features of both planets’ orbits, the distance between Earth and Mars will be even shorter (around 57.6 million kilometers), resulting in a more orange and brighter Red Planet.
How to observe the super-bright Mars?
According to NASA, we do not need to wait for this specific date to see this unusually bright Mars, the planet can already be observed. It is expected that the Red Planet will became fainter by the middle of August, as Earth will again leave Mars behind. In order to observe this spectacular view, we do not necessarily need a telescope or binoculars, as the planet can be viewed just with the naked eye.
Karen and her husband live on a plot of land in British Columbia. They aim to grow and raise a significant part of their food by maintaining a vegetable garden, keeping a flock of backyard chickens and foraging. They are also currently planning a move to a small cabin they hand built. Karen’s academic background in nutrition made her care deeply about real food and seek ways to obtain it. Thus sprung Anna’s interest in backyard gardening, chicken and goat keeping, recycling and self-sufficiency.