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Earth and Mars [left] size comparison. Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun and the second-smallest planet in the Solar System after Mercury. Mars is approximately half the diameter of Earth with a surface area only slightly less than the total area of Earth’s dry land. The red-orange appearance of the Martian surface is caused by iron oxide, or rust. Mars [right] seen with (before/ after) dust storm (July 2018). Mars has the largest dust storms in the Solar System, reaching speeds of over 160 km/h (100 mph). These can vary from a storm over a small area, to gigantic storms that cover the entire planet. They tend to occur when Mars is closest to the Sun, and have been shown to increase the global temperature. WIKIPEDIA - PHOTOS AND ANIMATION

Red planet Mars is now reaching closest to Earth in fifteen years

WASHINGTON United States (Xinhua) -- Mars is making its closest approach to Earth in 15 years on Tuesday, which means the red planet will be shinier and bigger and easier to observe, said U.S. space agency NASA.

The two planets will be just 57.6 million km apart on July 31, while Mars will appear brightest on July 27-30, making it easier to be seen with telescope or the naked eye.

"It’s magnificent.

"It’s as bright as an airplane landing light," said astronomer Harry Augensen from Widener University, Pennsylvania.

"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."

Before the closest approach, Mars will be in opposition on Friday, which means Mars and the Sun will appear in opposite positions as viewed from Earth.

  On the same day, the longest total lunar eclipse of thiscentury will be visible in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe and South America.

Mars will look fainter by mid-August since it travels farther away from Earth in the orbit around the Sun.

Mars and Earth were closer than this year in 2003, when the two planets were just 55.7 million km apart, which was the closest in 


Mars is about 230 million kilometres (143,000,000 mi) from the Sun; its orbital period is 687 (Earth) days, depicted in red. Earth’s orbit is in blue. ORIGINAL SIMULATION - TODD K. TIMBERLAKE
  Rajneesh greeted by 'sannyasins' circa 1982 - Wikipedia Photo: SAMVADO GUNNAR KOSSATZ | Coastweek

True colour image of Mars taken by the OSIRIS instrument on the ESA Rosetta spacecraft during its February 2007 flyby of the planet. The image was generated using the OSIRIS orange (red), green, and blue filters. PHOTO - EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY
nearly 60,000 years and won’t happen again until 2287, NASA said. Mars is a terrestrial planet with a thin atmosphere, having surface features reminiscent both of the impact craters of the Moon and the valleys, deserts, and polar ice caps of Earth.

Mars can easily be seen from Earth with the naked eye, as can its reddish colouring.

Its apparent magnitude reaches -2.91, which is surpassed only by Jupiter, Venus, the Moon, and the Sun.

Optical ground-based telescopes are typically limited to resolving features about 300 kilometers (190 mi) across when Earth and Mars are closest because of Earth's atmosphere.


Friday, July 27, 2018 - Lunar eclipse is visible across East Africa

Friday, July 27, 2018 - Longest total lunar eclipse in 21st century

Friday, July 27, 2018 - Best planet Mars in opposition since 2003




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