Click on image for full size
Image courtesy NASA/JPL.
Mars Opposition on October 30, 2005
News story originally written on September 22, 2005
Sometimes Earth gets pretty close to the planet Mars. Mars and Earth will
be close to each other on October
30, 2005. Mars will look like a bright red star. Mars will be about 69 million
km (43 million miles) from Earth. Even when planets are "close" to each other,
they are still a long way apart!
Earth and Mars get pretty close together once every 26 months. When the two
planets get close, astronomers call the event an "opposition".
That is because the Sun and Mars are on opposite sides of the sky during an
orbit of Mars is not quite a circle.
It is shaped more like an oval.
Sometimes Earth gets closer to Mars than normal when Mars is at just the right
place in its orbit. When it does, we have a really "close" opposition.
Mars was really, really close to Earth in August
2003. It will be pretty close to Earth in October 2005.
Check out this movie of the orbits of Earth
and Mars to see where the planets are right now.
When Earth is close to Mars, Mars looks like a very bright star in the sky.
If you get a chance to see Mars through a telescope, it will look a bit bigger
than usual. If you want a really close-up view of Mars, though, the best way
to get that is to look at pictures from spacecraft orbiting
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Our online store
on science education, classroom activities in The Earth Scientist
specimens, and educational games
You might also be interested in:
The orbit of Mars is very oval shaped. The orbit is much more oval shaped than the Earth's orbit. This means that the climate of Mars can change drastically between warm and cold. ...more
On August 27, 2003, Earth and Mars will be very close together. Well, close for planets anyways. The two planets will still be almost 56 million kilometers (about 35 million miles) apart. They will be...more
March 20, 2005 is the Vernal Equinox (the "first day" of Spring in the Northern Hemisphere or the "first day" of Fall in the Southern Hemisphere). It is also Sun-Earth Day! Sun-Earth...more
Sometimes Earth gets pretty close to the planet Mars. Mars and Earth will be close to each other on October 30, 2005. Mars will look like a bright red star. Mars will be about 69 million km (43 million...more
Astronomers have found another planet outside our solar system. That makes a total of 102 exoplanets that have been found so far! The astronomers that found the exoplanet, have been searching outside...more
Have you ever wanted to see a picture of a star? How about 2 million pictures?! The Two-Micron All Sky Survey (2MASS)has put together all these images of stars for you to see! Just click on the link below...more
Earth may look like a giant marble from space, but it is not exactly round! It is a little wider around the equator, like a tangerine. But Earth's shape does not stay the same! Scientists have been watching...more
Scientists found a large amount of chlorine in Io's atmosphere! Io is one of Jupiter's moons. It has more chlorine than Earth. Chlorine is part of salt, so there may be salt on Io! Salt is a very important...more