The closest distance between Mars and Earth .. Tuesday

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On Tuesday, October 6, 2020, Mars will reach the closest distance from our planet and will appear at a width of 22.6 arcseconds (slightly smaller than 2018), at 62.07 million kilometers a week before the encounter, and will not approach such a distance again for 15 years Coming or until September 2035.

According to the Astronomical Society in Jeddah, for comparison, Mars was in its historical approach in 2003 at the closest distance about 60,000 years ago, and it is now slightly farther from Earth than it was at that time, on August 27, 2003, Mars was at a distance of 55.76 million kilometers, and it will be repeated Better on August 28, 2287, when the red planet will be at a distance of 55.69 million kilometers.

It can be seen that the arrival of Mars at the closest distance and the encounter do not occur at the same time, and the reason is that the two planets revolve around the sun in elliptical orbits, not completely rotated, and are not at exactly the same plane, where the interval between the encounter of Mars and the lowest distance with the Earth is 8.5 days. (1969), or less than 10 minutes (2208 and 2232).

Mars takes 687 days to orbit the Sun and go through its seasonal changes, as it undergoes two equinoxes and two solstices. The Martian equinox occurs when the sun appears to cross the celestial equator of Mars, while the solstices represent the moment when the sun is at its farthest north or south in the Martian sky.

Mars is the only planet whose surface details can be seen from the Earth, and Mercury is very small, while other planets are covered with clouds, so it is an ideal event for everyone as Mars will be clearly and distinctively visible throughout the night and easy to identify in the dome of the sky.

Mars can be observed Tuesday evening easily with the naked eye, as it will appear as a point of light burning orange towards the eastern horizon at the beginning of the night, and in the western horizon west before dawn, and when using the binoculars, it will appear as a point of light without clear features completely as if you are looking at it with the naked eye, so the binoculars are not suitable To monitor Mars.

To see the disk of Mars, the observer needs to use an 8-inch and larger telescope and prefers to use color filters to improve the observation. There is a wide range of appropriate color filters. The green or blue filter will enhance the polar caps, and the red or orange filter works to improve dark details, along with the use of A zoom lens (Barlow) that attaches to the eyepiece of the telescope to improve vision.

The southern half of Mars can be seen tilting toward the Earth, and you see dark and lighter regions on the planet’s disk due to differences in reflecting light, where the lighter areas represent deserts while the darker regions are rocks, in addition, the planet’s south polar dome shines brightly, but due to Because it is in the southern summer, this dome will shrink to a fraction of its full size.

As for the Arctic Dome, it is currently behind the northern end of the planet, but there are blue clouds spread over it that can be observed, and the reason for its blue color is that it consists of ice crystals of water and carbon dioxide that scatter the short blue wavelengths of sunlight, knowing that rain does not fall on Mars Because its atmosphere is thin and the low temperatures and pressure mean that water can only exist there in the form of steam or ice.

Since the Earth rotates on its axis about 40 minutes faster compared to Mars, it is possible for the next few weeks to see many surface features, and when you observe Mars from a dark location and a clear sky devoid of the presence of the moon, there is an opportunity to see the moons of Mars Phobos and Deimos through the telescope. Invisible to the naked eye.

In general, the period from October 6 to October 28 will provide the opportunity to see various features of the surface of Mars as the planet rotates on its axis, and unlike most astronomical events that last for a short period or one night, the period of this event of several weeks will provide many opportunities for frequent observation and improvement of observation skills.

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