Tomorrow you'll get a once-in-two-years photo op with Mars

  • Tomorrow you'll get a once-in-two-years photo op with Mars

Tomorrow you'll get a once-in-two-years photo op with Mars

"It's been pretty easy to see for about a month because it's approaching the opposition and rising earlier, so rising from sunset and then you can see it and it's rising pretty high in the sky, so it's really easy to see", said Banyard. This is when the planet is about as close as it can get to Earth, so it is biggest and brightest.

Have you always been curious about other planets visibility in the sky, or just observing the stars into the night sky. The opposition won't occur again until the year 2035. "Depending on your local weather and lighting conditions, you can see Mars".

"In general, Mars is the brightest in October 2020 in 2020".

Autumn 2020 will see the best Opposition of Mars for many years to come. The distance between the two at opposition can be over 100 million kilometres, as it happened in 2012.

In its smaller orbit around the sun, Earth will pass more or less between the sun and Mars at around 11pm. A separation of just 62 million kilometres (39 million miles). The Earth, Mars, and the sun will be in a straight line at 23:20 GMT (00:20 BST). Glorious image To capture the glorious image clearly, one has to use a 14-inch-diameter Celestron telescope.

"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 indeed, you can easily spot it with the naked eye.

But Mars will have an unmistakable pink-orangey hue to it, and it will be the third brightest object in our skies after the Moon and Venus. How to see Mars For those excited to see this cosmic phenomenon with their own eyes, the instructions are simple. Look at the eastern sky to catch up at night.

Cloudy weather is forecast for some parts of the United Kingdom, but Banyard explained you can hopefully get a glimpse of Mars among any breaks or even through lighter cloud.

You'll also see a reddish tinge to Mars, resulting from the iron oxide-rich surface that gives it a rusty hue.

Astronomers say you can see surface features and polar regions when you look at the red planet through a telescope - like in this picture by Dr. Because Mars orbits the Sun in nearly an egg-shaped motion it can be as far as 250 million miles away from Earth or as close as about 40 million miles away. Those orbital quirks make it so Mars can sometimes be closest before opposition, and therefore before it appears brightest.

Scientists have long debated whether Mars - once a much more hospitable place than it is today - ever harboured life.

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.