Mars to be visible at its biggest, brightest on October 13

Wow! Mars to appear brightest and biggest tonight don't miss this rare'opposition

As a result, the Red Planet appears larger, brighter, and redder than usual - and will not return to Earth until 2035.

Mars orbits the Sun at a greater distance than Earth and takes about 26 months to complete an orbit around the Sun.

Mars will reportedly be "visible from dusk to dawn" and appear three times brighter than Sirius.

Mars and Earth, as well as all the other planets in the solar system, orbit the Sun at different distances and speeds. Still, you don't have to stay up late to see the big, bright planet in the night sky.

But on October 14th it will be very special: Sun, Earth and Mars are on the same line. The next time this will occur is two years from now.

"At this October's Opposition, Mars" southern hemisphere will be tilted towards Earth.

Closer approach may be over, but the planet is still bright at night, so get out and pick up a canter or tune in to the live feed of the virtual telescope program from your computer's convenience.

"In fact, Mars will not be relatively close and well positioned again to northern observers until it reaches opposition in 2052". But unlike Earth's more circular orbit, Mars's path is fairly elliptical. However, it was in 2003 that the planets had come the closest and NASA has said the two would not orbit this close to each other until the year 2287.

Skygazers may notice that Mars is looking bigger and brighter at the moment due to a process which only happens every two years or so. The closest possible encounter is when the Earth is furthest from the Sun and Mars is closest to the Sun, although that closest ideal point has never been recorded.

"The difference in the apparent size of Mars from last week to this week is absolutely tiny - just a fraction of an arc second, which itself is a tiny fraction of a degree". And if you've got a good pair of binoculars, you'll certainly be able to make out that it's actually a planet and not a star.

Mars is not the only one in the sky for October. With Mars in opposition on October 13, NASA has described it as the night when viewers could "effectively" see a full Mars. When it comes to observing around Opposition, telescopes will show us obscure and light regions on Mars' disc.

Mars, the most celebrated and debated planet, is impeccably detectable with the unaided eye.

NASA's next-generation robotic rover - a car-sized six-wheeled vehicle carrying seven scientific instruments - also is scheduled to deploy a mini helicopter on Mars and try out equipment for future human treks to the fourth planet from the sun.



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