Hyderabad: Planet Mars will get closest to Earth in 15 years on Tuesday at 57.59 million km and next it will occur only in 2035, Planetary Society, India (PSI) said.
PSI Director and Founder Secretary N Sri Raghunandan Kumar said that this closest approach is due once in 26 months celestial event ‘Mars Opposition to Sun’, which occurred on July 27, 2018.
He said due to opposition planet Mars, Earth and Sun were opposite to each other in a straight line from our perspective on earth.
Whenever a planet is at Opposition, planet in question would be closest in its orbit to earth than any other time. Hence, it will appear closest, brightest, biggest (from Telescope), Mr Kumar said.
The PSI Director said, at 1320 hrs today, Planet Mars is placed at 0.38496 AU = 57.59 million km. Generally, the minimum distance from Mars to Earth is 55.7 million km whereas maximum distance planet Mars can be away from Earth is 401.3 Million Km.
Compared to Year 2018, it will take another 17 Years for Mars to match this year’s record in September 2035. Planet Mars can be spotted in the sky till end of year with more appreciable brightness till end of November 2018. However, as days pass by, the distance increases so the brightness and size for observation purpose decreases, he added.
He said general public can spot the Mars for many weeks easily with naked eye after sunset. In the evening, half-an-hour after sunset, looking towards the sky opposite direction to sunset, one can spot planet Mars between East and South East direction. Whereas at midnight one can see it above his head, in the morning it can be spotted in West and South West Direction, Mr Kumar explained.
Mars will appear like Orangish Red Non-Twinkling Bright object in the sky when seen by naked eye, he said and requested schools to come forward be part of “Kalam Observation Center” project to Host Sky Observation for Students and General Public (in School surroundings area). Technical know-how and astronomical Telescopes will be provided by Society in association with its partners and details can be found at www.ournewplanets.com.