Fifteen years after its closest brush with Earth, Mars will once again be within a close range to our planet this week.
The Red Planet will be 57.6 million km away from the Earth on July 27 in a celestial event called Opposition — when the sun, Earth and any planet, in this case, Mars, align in a straight line. In 2003, Mars had come close to our planet and that was an event in which the Red Planet was that close after 60,000 years.
Arvind Paranjpe, the director of Nehru Planetarium, Mumbai, said: “The distance between Mars and Earth ranges between 100 million km and 56 million km. Mars and Earth will be about 57.6 million km away from each other on July 27. These two planets do come almost this close after every 15 to 17 years.”
Mars and Earth are the closest planets to each other. But the nearest distance between them keeps changing every year, as the planets can take varying time to orbit the sun. On July 27, experts said, a cloudy sky might come in the way of sighting. They have recommended the use of a telescope, fitted with a lens with a 6-inch aperture, to witness the phenomenon.-Iandianexpress