October 13 is Night out with Mars

Astrologers are geared up as the Sun, Earth, and Mars line up close to a new moon because Mars is getting big and bright on the night of October 13.

Mars in Night Sky

In astronomy terms, if we talk about the event that happens about every two years is called “opposition” when the sun and Mars are on opposite sides of Earth. According to NASA, as Mars rises in the east just as the sun sets in the west from the earthling’s perspective, and the whole night it will be in the sky and as the sun rises will be setting in the west.

NASA's diagram of Mars opposition shows the Sun, the Earth and Mars lining up every two years.
NASA’s diagram of Mars opposition shows the Sun, the Earth and Mars lining up every two years.

Mars will Brighter

Mikhail Kreslavsky, the assistant research planetary scientist at the University of California, Santa Cruz, writes in an email to NPR that it’s going to be ideal for viewing due to the reason that they’re seeing the whole dayside of the red planet the whole week. He added that Mars will shine brighter without moonlight hampering because this year’s opposition is also close to the new moon.

The Hubble telescope takes a Mars portrait near close approach.
The Hubble telescope takes a Mars portrait near close approach.

When Mars and Earth come nearest to each other in their orbits around the sun also called “Mars close approach” is related to the Mars “opposition” event. This Mars close approach happened on October 6, hence the size is pretty large of Mars.

Mars slowly increasing in Size

In a podcast, last week, Are We There Yet? astronomer Derek Demeter told that for people who are amateur astronomers with a decent-sized telescope will still be able to see Mars like a dot. Derek who directs Seminole State College’s planetarium also added that Earth is getting pretty close to Mars and the apparent size of Mars has multiplied three times in the telescope.

Derek shared his astronomical experience of a few days earlier about gazing at the surface of Mars that he was able to pick out the surface features that common people haven’t been introduced to yet. He also saw the location where Opportunity has landed and approximately all the areas where the rovers have landed and some of the few locations where NASA could visit. 

Past and Future landings on Mars

2020: Mars Exploration Year

2020 is a year of lost hope for the world has however experienced its share of Martian exploration launches. A six-wheeled Rover called Perseverance was launched by the U.S. while the United Arab Emirates launched its first mission ever to Mars, along with China launching its Tianwen-1 project to send a lander, rover, and orbiter in one effort to the red planet, reaching for a first successful Mars mission.

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