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CosmosUp | April 8, 2020

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May 30: Mars to Make The Closest Approach to Earth In 11 Years

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Don’t miss!!! On Monday, May 30, Mars will be closer to Earth than it has been in 11 years and it will shine 10 times brighter than it did at the start of 2016.

Last week on May 22, Mars reached opposition with the sun, meaning the Earth was between Mars and the Sun, but that phenomena did not mark Mars’ closest approach to Earth. On May 30, Mars Will be 47.2 million miles (75.3 million kilometers) from Earth, that’s more than 500,000 miles closer to our planet than at opposition.

So, it is a great opportunity to stargazer to catch a glimpse of Mars as will appear bigger and brighter than usual to us until June 3.

Mars is easy to view with the naked eye, you don’t need a telescope or binoculars to see it, probably you will be able to find it easily without a star chart or an astronomy app.

The size of Mars varies more than any other planet, and we’ve waited a full decade for it to come this close and appear this large,

said Slooh astronomer Bob Berman in a statement.

Throw in the fact that it’s the only other planet on which humans will ever walk and you can understand why everyone will be turning in to this rare occasion.

In 2018, the next time their orbits line up, Mars and the Earth will be even closer, 36 million miles. The modern-day record, 34.6 million miles, was set in 2003. That won’t be surpassed until the year 2287 – that was the nearest Earth and Mars have been in almost 60,000 years according to NASA.

I observed (Mars) through quite a small five inch reflecting telescope at the beginning of the month and could see a surprising amount of detail.

Robin Scagell, vice-president of the Society for Popular Astronomy, said to skynews.

Mars is now quite large in the sky, about 18 seconds of arc across (0.3 degrees). It looks very red because it’s so low in the sky, scraping the rooftops really.

If you want to see some detail you need a telescope with 75 – 100 times magnification. The best time to see it is around 1am. Saturn is next to Mars at the moment and you can see the difference between the two planets. Saturn looks yellowish.

Don’t miss this close approach of Mars thus you’ll have to wait until July of 2018 !!!

Mats on may 30

Mars’ closest approach to Earth is on May 30©NASA/JPL-Caltech.



  1. Adolfo Domínguez

    Really great!!

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