Last Tuesday, October 6, was the day the Earth was closest to Mars as it was farthest from the Sun, which is known as aphelion, and finding the red planet at the closest point or perihelion. In fact, it was only 62.1 million kilometers from the Earth’s surface, an ideal distance to be seen without using a telescope.
This Tuesday, October 13, another interesting astronomical phenomenon occurs again and that is the Earth will pass between Mars and the Sun, so it will appear in a position opposite to that of the great star.
Recommendations to observe this phenomenon in detail
Why does this phenomenon occur? In relation to the Earth, “a planet is in conjunction when the Sun is between them and it is the moment of greatest distance between them”, they explain from the Meteored specialized portal.
In the opposite case, if the Earth is between the Sun and another planet, as in the case of Mars, it will be in opposition and “it will be closer to us”. For this reason, the red planet will be visible throughout the night, its diameter will be greater and the best conditions for its observation will be produced.
“At dusk, you will be able to see Mars coming out of the east with its maximum brightness as it is in opposition”, highlights the Real Astronomical Observatory of Madrid in its official Twitter account. Oppositions usually happen every 26 months, but this night sky event won’t happen again until 2035 “Because the orbits of both planets are quite different,” they add in Meteored.
What is the best moment of observation? At dusk, when the Sun falls, the red planet will be easily visible due to its large size and color. The main recommendation is to stay away from any type of light pollution, so it is advisable to go to clear places such as fields or mountains. Although it can be observed without using a telescope or binoculars, it is recommended to use it to fully appreciate its output.
Don’t miss heaven tonight because it has a double program. At dusk, you can see Mars rise in the east at its brightest when in opposition. At dawn, you can also see in the east a beautiful conjunction of Venus with the waning Moon. pic.twitter.com/60F4MzYALu
– Royal Observatory (@RObsMadrid) October 13, 2020