Updated: July 24, 2018 12:17:02 pm
Fifteen years after its closest brush with Earth, Mars will once again be within a close range to our planet this week. The Red Planet will be 57.6 million km away from the Earth on July 27 in a celestial event called Opposition — and event in which the the Sun and the Earth align in a straight line with a third planet. In 2003, the year of the previous Mars opposition, the red Planet had come within 3.2 million km of our planet, the closest distance between the two planet in almost 60,000 years.
Arvind Paranjpe, the director of Nehru Planetarium, Mumbai, said, “The distance between Mars and Earth ranges between 100 million km and 56 million km. Mars and Earth will be about 57.6 million km away from each other on July 27. These two planets do come almost this close after every 15 to 17 years.”
Mars and Earth are the third and fourth planets in the Solar System, and are the closest neighbouring planet to each other. But the distance between them keeps varying every year, as the planets reach different points in their orbit around the Sun. On July 27, experts have warned that a cloudy sky may come in the way of sighting the Mars opposition. They have recommended the use of a telescope, fitted with a lens with a 6-inch aperture, to witness the phenomenon. According to NASA, this event will not be witnessed again before 2034, when the next Mars inversion is predicted.
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