Get your telescopes ready and look out for Mars in the night sky. Today, the red planet will make its closest approach to Earth in over a decade. Today’s astronomical event will bring the red planet just 46.7 million miles away from Earth. Usually, Mars is located at 139 Million Miles from Earth.
Today the red planet will be aligned to Earth in such a way, that it will make its closest approach to our planet in over a decade thanks to the perihelion (when planets are closest to the Sun) and aphelion (when planets are furthest away from the sun).
Since planets in our solar system have elliptical orbits, the distance from the sun can vary.
Scientifically, this will mean many amateur astronomers will point their telescopes to the skies hoping to catch Mars at its best. The red planet has become the center of debate among researchers in the last couple of years. So far, we have learned that Mars is not a desolate planet at all. In fact, researchers have learned that there is liquid water flowing on Mars. The red planet has unknown spikes of Methane ( even possibly from living organisms on the planet), and billions of years ago, the red planet had an atmosphere eerily similar to that of Earth, a giant oceans that covered most of the planet surface.
However, beyond scientific reasons, people around the globe will pay respect to Mars. In the distant past, the red planet was considered an important icon in the night sky by ancient cultures such as the Sumerians, Maya, Aztecs, Inca, and Egyptians.
For thousands of years, ancient cultures felt a deep connection with the stars, one of the reasons why monuments were erected in order to mimic constellations and movements of the moon and sun.
As the red planet moves across the solar system, it is said to create giant energetic waves that rip through space. Astrologically, Mars and its red color represent passion, action, and desire.
In order for the two planets to meet, they need to be on the same side of the Sun. Only then, our planet needs to at its aphelion, when Mars is at its perihelion. If you look at the sky tonight, you will notice this phenomenon when Mars will appear as a bright red dot in the night sky.
Interestingly, the average distance between our planet and Mars is 139 Million Miles, but today’s astronomical event will bring Mars a staggering 46.7 million miles away from our planet. On Monday, May 30 at around 5.35 P.M EDT, the red planet will be at the closest distance it has been to earth since 2005. It is an astronomical phenomenon worth following.
If you are lucky enough and have a good telescope, you will catch an impressive view of the red planet, its giant craters and canyon systems that decorate the reddish surface of Mars.
You even might spot Olympus Mons (it has a height of nearly 22 km (13.6 mi). Olympus Mons stands about two and a half times as tall as Mount Everest’s height above sea level. ) if conditions and timing are right.