Tuesday, April 8, 2014

CLOSE ENCOUNTER WITH MARS

via http://spaceweather.com/

This is a good week to see the planet Mars. Today, April 8th, Mars is "at opposition"--that is, perfectly opposite the sun in the midnight sky. And then, on April 14th, Mars makes its closest approach to Earth since 2012. Look for the Red Planet rising in the east at sunset, shining brighter than a 1st-magntitude star. Alan Dyer sends this picture of the Red Planet from Coonabarabran, NSW, Australia:



"The reddish tint of Mars contrasts nicely with blue-white Spica, the brightest star in Virgo," says Dyer. "If the arrangement of Mars and Spica looks unusual, it's because I took this from Australia. So the relative position of Mars and Spica looks upside down compared to a northern hemisphere view. The gum trees in the foreground are illuminated by the waxing Moon."

To learn more about the close encounter, watch the video "Opposition of Mars" from Science@NASA.

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