Up-close and personal with Mars: Space enthusiasts to get best view of Red Planet on May 30
Have you always wanted to get a good glimpse of Mars but never had the chance and the devices to do so? Well, next week is your best opportunity to get up-close and personal with the Red Planet.
Mars will be at its closest to Earth in 11 years, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) recently announced, giving space enthusiasts the opportunity to get a clearer view of the fourth planet in the solar system.
The Red Planet will have a close contact with Earth due to an astronomical event called the "Mars Opposition." This occurrence, which takes place every 26 months, is observed when Mars and the sun are on directly opposite sides of the Earth.
"From our perspective on our spinning world, Mars rises in the east just as the sun sets in the west," NASA explained in a statement posted on its website.
"Then, after staying up in the sky the entire night, Mars sets in the west just as the sun rises in the east. Since Mars and the sun appear on opposite sides of the sky, we say that Mars is in "opposition," the space agency added.
In 2003, the closest Mars opposition in almost 60,000 years occurred, and this record will until Aug. 28, 2287, according to the NASA statement.
Even before the actual Mars opposition this year, the space agency already took advantage of this astronomical phenomenon to take good pictures of Mars.
Last May 12, the Hubble Telescope captured images of Mars, showing its "wild, rust-colored landscape."
"The large, dark region at far right is Syrtis Major Planitia, one of the first features identified on the surface of the planet by seventeenth-century observers. Christiaan Huygens used this feature to measure the rotation rate of Mars," the space agency explained.
"Today we know that Syrtis Major is an ancient, inactive shield volcano. Late-afternoon clouds surround its summit in this view," it added.