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Mars set for a close approach to Earth today

Mars is at its brightest.

Mars Close Approach

Today on 6th October 2020, Mars is set to come close to Earth- approximately 38.6 million miles (62.07 million kilometers) from the Earth. The closest it will be until December 2022.

Simultaneously, Mars will be legitimately on the opposite side of Earth from the Sun. This happens about every two years. During this opposition, Mars and Earth are nearest to one another in their orbits.

When Mars and Earth are close to each other, Mars appears very bright in our sky. It also makes it easier to see with telescopes or the naked eye. It will get faint as the Mars and Earth travel farther away from each other.

This close approach occurs when Mars and Earth come nearest to each other in their orbits around the Sun. The minimum distance from Earth to Mars is about 33.9 million miles (54.6 million kilometers).

Both Mars and Earth have circular orbits, but their paths are elliptical (egg-shaped). Also, gravitational tugging by planets constantly changes the shape of their orbits a little bit. And the orbits of both planets are slightly tilted to each other.

All these factors don’t mean that all close approach occurs at an equal distance.

During its closest approach, Mars will be visible for much of the night in the southern sky and is at its highest point at about midnight.

The next Mars Close Approach is Dec. 8, 2022, when the Red Planet will be only 38.6 million miles (62.07 million kilometers) from Earth.