Mars making closest approach to Earth in 15 years

Posted at 3:34 PM, Jul 24, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-24 15:34:58-04

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Now’s the time to catch Mars in the night sky.

Next week, the red planet is making its closest approach to Earth in 15 years.

The two planets will be just 35.8 million miles (57.6 million kilometers) apart next Tuesday. And on Friday, Mars will be in opposition. That means Mars and the sun will be on exact opposite sides of us.

Mars is already brighter than usual and will shine even more— and appear bigger — as Tuesday approaches. Astronomers expect good viewing through early August.

A massive dust storm at Mars, however, is obscuring normally visible surface details.

In 2003, Mars and Earth were the closest in nearly 60,000 years.