Space experts at The University of Toledo are facilitating Mars Watch 2018 to share the UT telescope with people in general for a perspective of what is called opposition, the moment that Mars and the sun are on straightforwardly inverse sides of the Earth as the planets circle around the sun.
Astronomers predicted that the Mars will be visible to the naked eye in late July as the planet approaches its closest point to Earth since 2003 – 35.8 million miles away.
Alex Mak, associate director of UT Ritter Planetarium said, “Due to the orbit of Mars and Earth, Mars is really only well placed for observing from Earth for a month or two every two years or so. The end of July and early August mark one of those opportunities.”
“Mars is the planet that has fascinated humanity for the longest,” Mak said. “From its retrograde motion in the sky and its blood red color to the question of whether Mars has or had life, it is a planet that has never failed to make us wonder.”
The Brooks Observatory in McMaster Hall will be open to the public for four nights — from 9:30 to 10:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 26; Monday, July 30; Tuesday, July 31, and Wednesday, Aug. 1. Visitors are invited to meet in the lobby of McMaster Hall where they will be guided up to the observatory.
The event is dependent on clear skies. Admission is $2 for adults and $1 for children 5 through 12. Children 4 and younger are admitted free.