Up Close And Personal With Mars As It Approaches Closer To The Earth This Weekend

First Posted: May 21, 2016 04:50 AM EDT

The red planet will be exactly opposite the sun in the Earth's sky this coming Sunday morning (May 22). This is termed by the astronomers as "Mars opposition." This indicates that you can evidently spot Mars this weekend.

Mars opposition is also associated with the "Mars close approach," wherein there's the shortest distance between two planets. The Mars opposition will happen early on Sunday. The red planet and the sun will be on opposite sides of the Earth. During the opposition, the Mars emerges when the sun sets and when the sun rises the red planet sets. 

"The cool thing is, now that we understand that the Earth is a planet and that we're all going around the sun together, we know that it means that this is the closest Mars ever gets to us," said Michelle Thaller, a NASA scientist. She further said that this is the best time to look at Mars from Earth. 

The NASA scientists will use the Hubble Space Telescope to capture the stunning and amazing view of Mars during opposition, according to Space. During the opposition night, the red planet will be close to the nearly full moon. It will be the brightest thing in the sky, except for Jupiter and the moon.

Mars will be spotted depending on your location. In New York, Mars is going to rise in the East at 8:10 P.M. EDT and will set in the West at 5:35 A.M. EDT. This means Mars can be seen on the horizon for 9 hours and 25 minutes. The red planet will be visible longer in the farther south and a shorter time in the farther north.

On the other hand, if you are living anywhere north of the equator, Mars will be visible due south at midnight local time. Meanwhile, if you are living south of the equator, the red planet will be high overhead.

The best way to spot the red planet this weekend is when Mars is highest in the sky, this happens close to midnight local time. If in case you live in a part of the world that is on daylight saving time, the best viewing time to see Mars will be close to 1 A.M. your local time.

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