‘Opposition’ to bring Mars closest to Earth Friday

Visitors to the Calvin College Observatory will have the chance to see the planet under high magnification, turning that bright red “star” into a resolved planet – hopefully with the chance to see dark surface features and a polar ice cap.

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Artists’ impression: Mars Express probing the planet’s surface.

The information originates from Mars Express, a European rocket that has been orbiting Mars for a long time. “And also closer to the Sun than it has been in a long time”, Gilmore said.

Opposition occurs TODAY (July 27), and Mars will reach its closest position to Earth at 07:50am GMT. Also, since Mars orbits in a much more elliptical pattern, its distance to the Earth and the sun can vary quite a bit during its orbit.

In 2003, Mars and Earth were at their closest in almost 60,000 years, coming within 34.6 million miles of each other.

But this opposition is special because of where Mars is in its orbit around the sun. The final image, taken by Hubble on 18 July 2018, shows a global dust storm, with spring in the southern hemisphere. These changing patterns are most visible in the region surrounding the northern pole. To the south of this feature a string of bright clouds is visible: remnants of a disintegrating storm.

The DNR is hosting several events tonight to celebrate the full moon.

Saturn is by far the solar system’s most photogenic planet, and in this latest Hubble Space Telescope snapshot it is especially so because Saturn’s magnificent ring system is near its maximum tilt toward Earth (which was in 2017).

In the space Agency compared the images of the red planet and Saturn made in 2016 and a recent photo.

The claim has sent scientists and media into a spin, some claiming this is a definite sign of life on Mars, others urging caution.

My proposal is to wait until human technologies are mature enough to both ensure deployment of landers/rovers efficiently and avoid contaminating the environment on Mars with microbes from Earth.

Researchers say they have discovered a vast waterway just underneath the surface, bringing up issues about the potential life that could happen there. “On Mars, that’s much more hard, of course, because we can’t really drill into the ice”. During opposition, as NASA explains it, Mars and the sun are on directly opposite sides of Earth.

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Stargazers will be able to see the planet at its brightest from Friday night through to Monday night, as Mars comes a “mere” 36 million miles (58 million km) from Earth, according to NASA.

'Opposition' to bring Mars closest to Earth Friday