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Mars will be Brightest Object in Sky Until End of July

Antonia R.Antonia R.

Up until end of July we'll be able to observe Mars's closest approach to our own planet. The Red Planet will be the brightest object in the sky, as it will be maximally close to Earth.

This phenomenon has not been observed in 15 years, and Mars will be at its brightest on the evening of July 27, when it will be lined up with both the Sun and Earth. At that point it will be 57.6 million km from our planet.

This phenomenon is called "Mars opposition", which will make the Red Planet appear 10 times brighter than usual.

But even right now, Mars appears to be the brightest object in the night sky, with its red-orange glow. Usually it's Venus that's the brightest object but until the end of July it will be Mars that will grab the eye.

The Red Planet is at its closest approach to Earth roughly every 26 months, due to the differences in their orbits around the Sun.


So far, the closest the 2 planets have ever been was in 2003, when they were just 55.7 million km apart from each other. This record will be broken in August of 2285.

These close encounters with Mars are quite fruitful for NASA, as it allows their satellites, orbiters and landers to reach the Red Planet faster. A mission is already underway and there are 2 more planned for the year 2020, when Mars will once again be at its closest approach to Earth.