Tuesday, 27 Oct 2020

Mars will be visible from UK today – at its ‘biggest and brightest’ until 2035

Tonight skygazers are in for a treat as Mars will be at its biggest and brightest, and the next time you'll see anything like it is 2035.

If you want to catch a glimpse of the Red Planet anytime soon, now is your best chance.

Mars make a close approach to Earth, and will be about 38.6 million miles (62.07 million kilometers) from our planet.

Because of the way their orbits align, Mars and Earth come into close contact every so often.

Every 26 months or so, the Red Planet and Earth align, but extra close oppositions only happen every 15 to 17 years.

The next one won’t occur until September 15 2035, so make sure you see this one.

When to see Mars in the Sky?

This opposition of Mars will occur on Tuesday, October 13.

This means the sun, Earth and Mars will form a straight line in space.

The moment of opposition will happen at around midnight in the UK.

When Mars is in opposition the sun lies opposite the planet, meaning it will reflect the full brightness of the sun.

This will make it shine even brighter in the sky.

The good news is that you may be able to spot Mars much earlier than midnight.

Keep your eyes peeled on the eastern horizon after sunset, and you’ll see a very bright star start to rise.

How to see Mars in the night sky:

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Luckily, Mars can be seen from both hemispheres with the naked eye, and it will look like a bright, reddish-orange star.

The Red Planet is currently sitting just north of the celestial equator.

In order to find it, you’ll need to look to the right of the moon, and slightly upwards towards the Pisces constellation.

You should spot Mars relatively easy, as there aren’t any bright stars in that region of the sky.

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NASA said: “Simply go outside and look up and, depending on your local weather and lighting conditions, you should be able to see Mars.”

But if you happen to have a small telescope, you will definitely get more out of it.

NASA's Lance D. Davis said: "When it comes to observing Mars around opposition, telescopes will show more of the planet’s details, such as dark and light regions on Mars’ surface, and the prominent south polar ice cap, which will be tilted towards the Earth.

"Due to the turbulence of our atmosphere, these details can be hard to see, especially in smaller telescopes."

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