Star Gazers Rejoice! Earth’s Closest Encounter With Mars in 15 Years

Sputnik News – June 17, 2018

July will be the closest Mars has come to Earth in 15 years, providing a golden opportunity for spectacular nighttime watching, according to The Weather Channel.

The reason is that Earth will pass between Mars and the sun and will be closest to the red planet on July 31 — an estimated 35.8 million miles away. Mars will be notably visible to the naked eye all the way through July, but a telescope may come in handy to get a really vicarious thrill.

So-called perihelic opposition accounts for the phenomenon; expressed in simpler terms, this is when Earth passes straight between the red planet and the sun. According to NASA, perihelic opposition is a rare event as occurs only once every 15 to 17 years, when Earth and Mars’s orbits align to bring the two planets close together, thus pleasing sky gazers with fantastic views.