It’s time we take a look at our closest neighbour planet, Mars, even without a telescope. The planet is going to be closer to Earth on May 30th than its has been in the last 11 years. The average distance of the red planet is 400 million kilometres from Mother Earth but on May 30, the planet will be only 75.3 million kilometres.

mars and earth

Sure, 5.3 million kilometres pretty far but with this distance, the planet can be seen with naked eyes, getting bigger and brighter up until June 3. You won’t even need any astronomical app or a star chart to see the planet, only stand under a clear sky.

According to NASA, the best time to see a glimpse of the world in the US is around midnight. But how can one recognise Mars? NASA informs that the brightest stars one sees in a clear south-east sky which will also have a reddish hue will be the Red planet. For people living outside the US, check out this website where you can search the time when the world will appear based on your location.

The reason behind the Red planet looking brighter is a phenomenon known as “Mars opposition.” Under this event, which occurs when the Sun and Mars line up directly opposite to Earth.

In an interview to Sky newspaper, Robin Scagell, vice-president of the Society for Popular Astronomy said, “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. 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 heavens, scraping the rooftops.”

On 22 May, Sunday, the sun and Mars were on the exact opposite side of Earth, at a distance of 47.4 million miles.

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