Skywatch: A visit from the red planet

James Marshall
October 16, 2020

In its smaller orbit around the sun, Earth will pass more or less between the sun and Mars at around 11pm.

It is unlikely to miss Mars in the sky this month because it will be visible throughout the night.

Peach said, "Even at nine or 10 o'clock in the evening, you'll easily see it over in the southeast". The U.S. launched a six-wheeled Rover called Perseverance; the United Arab Emirates launched its first mission ever to Mars, and China launched its Tianwen-1 project to send an orbiter, lander and rover to the red planet in one effort, reaching for a first successful Mars mission.

But at opposition, it looks bigger and brighter, NASA explained. Go out around 8pm, as the sky gets dark, turn your back on the setting sun and you'll see Mars low in the east, looking like a bright-shining orange star at a distance. And as the sky brightens as the morning approaches, Mars will still be there, but less in the west, less as the sun rises.

According to NASA: "From our perspective on our spinning world, Mars rises in the east just as the Sun sets in the west. Since Mars and the sun appear on opposite sides of the sky, we say that Mars is in "opposition".

Previously, the closest approach between Mars and Earth was recorded in 2003, when Mars was 55.7 million kilometres away.

Oppositions of Mars happen about every 26 months because Earth takes a year to orbit the sun, and Mars takes about two years.

In Guwahati, it can be seen right after sunset on 13th October, and will be at its brightest at 12 am, informed Bora.

Spacecraft from several nations are now on the way to Mars, including NASA's Mars 2020 mission, which is scheduled to land there in February.

Its arrival at Mars is planned for 18 February at the site of an ancient river delta.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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