Perihelic Opposition Of Mars In July 2018 RedPlanet Comes Close To EarthKarthick (Author) Published Date : Jun 20, 2018 12:48 IST
A Great News For Sky Watchers!Mars is the fourth brightest space object that can be viewed from Earth after Sun, Moon and Venus. This July month, Mars can be seen still brighter than viewed through a telescope because it gets closer to Earth.
It is normally termed as "Opposition" as the Earth comes between Sun and Mars once in two years due to variations in the length of orbital paths and speeds of Mars and Earth. this year, it is called "perihelic opposition" because perihelion is the point where the red planet is closer to Sun and it can be inferred that Mars is closer to Earth and Sun. The phenomenon of perihelic opposition occurs once in every 15 or 17 years. Next time, it occurs in 2035 only.
Also, 2003 Mars Opposition cannot be taken lightly as the planets were too close to each other that this phenomenon has never occurred in the past 60,000 years, as announced by NASA.
During daytime, Sun's brightness makes it difficult to see it and since the sun rises earlier in the summer and at the start of autumn, viewing of Mars at this time is impossible. Sky viewers can watch the red planet in the night sky with naked eye throughout the July month as it gets closer to Earth and Mars will appear 5 times brighter in the later part of July month as it would be at a distance of just 57.6 million km away on July 31 against its usual average distance of 225 million km, according to recent reports.
Notably, its greatest distance from Earth is around 400 million km when Mars is on the other side of the Sun. In the 2003 Opposition, the distance was still reduced by 2 million km than the present scenario and the 2003 record will remain untouched for over 200 years.
Mars size is only one half more than the sze of the Earth. May 2016 Mars opposition was not this much special and interestingly, this year already had a planet's oppostion in May 2018. It is nothing but the largest planet of our Solar System, Jupiter which was in opposition to Earth at a distance of 650 million km.
Perihelic Opposition Of Mars In July 2018 RedPlanet Comes Close To Earth