Mars is making closest approach to Earth in 15 years today

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Mars is making closest approach to Earth in 15 years today

Mars gets closest to Earth; date and time, how to watch, what to expect: Mars will be at its closest distance to the Earth during an Opposition phase, a phenomenon that occurs about once in every 15 years.

That is the point in Mars' orbit when it comes closest to Earth.

At 3:50 a.m. EDT (0750 GMT), Mars reached the closest point to Earth in its orbit. The red planet will appear at its brightest since 2003, when Mars made its closest approach to Earth in nearly 60,000 years.

The two stellar bodies will not meet again this close for another 17 years.

Mars will appear brighter and bigger in our night sky tonight, July 31, because of a rare occurrence called Mars Close Approach.

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

Mars will make its closest approach to Earth in the last 15 years early Tuesday morning - making it appear brighter and larger than usual.

If you're looking through binoculars or a telescope, you will not be able to see the detail you normally do on the planet's surface; there's a massive dust storm obscuring most planetary details right now.

For those who missed the closest approach, not to worry. Los Angeles' Griffith Observatory will provide a live online view of Mars early Tuesday. Global dust storms - lasting for weeks or months - tend to happen during the spring and summer in the southern hemisphere, when Mars is closest to the Sun and heating is at a maximum to generate winds.

"We should establish an occupancy on the moon", Aldrin said in the live video about Earth's satellite that he once stepped foot on.

Creating a reliable, user-friendly life support system will be critical for any successful manned missions to Mars, NASA said in the announcement.

By mid-August, NASA says Mars will become fainter as the planet and Earth travel away from each other. It is visible as a bright reddish orange spot in the sky. So, while it won't remain this bright in the night sky for long, it will be brilliant long enough for everyone to take a look.

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