How to see Mars opposition and blood moon eclipse with no telescope

Mars making closest approach to Earth in 15 years

The Red Planet has been shining bright throughout the month of July at night. CU Boulder astronomer Doug Duncan talked to Colorado Matters about how to spot the planet and why it'll be so visible from July 27-31.

The two planets will be just 35.8 million miles (57.6 million kilometers) apart next Tuesday.

By mid-August, the planet will become fainter as Mars and Earth travel farther away from each other in their orbits around the sun.

According to AccuWeather, Mars is now engulfed in a massive dust storm, obscuring the planetary features.

From 8 to 11 p.m. Friday, the public can view Mars, Saturn, Jupiter and the moon at the MTSU Observatory to witness the start of Mars' closest approach to Earth since 2003, organizers said.

The size of the red planet hasn't actually changed, but where it is in its orbit has lessened the distance between it and Earth, making it appear bigger to us Earthlings as it gets closer.

If you miss the Mars Close Approach next month, the next approach will be October 6, 2020.

For Powell River residents seeking to view the planet from the comfort of their own homes, there is no need to go to a particularly dark place or use a telescope to see it. Mars will appear on the horizon at around 9:30 pm each evening, starting in the southeast at the bottom right in relation to the moon, and rise throughout the night.

"The Martian proton auroras are more than a light show", said Dr. Jasper Halekas, from the University of Iowa.

In 2003, Mars and Earth were at their closest in almost 60,000 years, coming within 34.6 million miles of each other. "Not quite as bright as Venus, but still because of the reddish, orange-ish-red color, you really can't miss it in the sky". "This is one of the largest weather events that we've seen on Mars", since spacecraft observations began in the 1960s, said Michael Smith, a scientist at NASA's Goddard Spaceflight Center. On Mars, they are the result of protons, and scientists have just figured out how the events happen.

This summer, opposition occurs July 27, or overnight Thursday into early Friday morning. In 1877, Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli claimed to have seen canals on Mars, suggesting there could be possible civilization, or Martians, on the red planet. For some, that means a chance to see a total lunar eclipse - the longest of the 21st century, but the eclipse won't be visible from the United States.

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