Mars will be the closest to the Earth in 15 years on the night of 31st July, 2018. Mars, Sun and Earth will be in a straight line on Tuesday, with Sun and Mars on either sides of the Earth. The Red Planet will be just 57.6 million kilometers (35.8 million miles) away from Earth.
Mars and Earth were the closest last in 2003 in nearly 60,000 years. The distance between the Mars and the Earth was 34.6 million miles (55.7 million kilometers).
Mars will shine brightly and will appear to bigger than normal on Tuesday. A massive dust storm will engulf the Red planet. The dust storm will engulf the surface of Mars and will be visilble mormally through a telescope. Earth and Mars have oval shaped orbits, like all other planets. The perihelic opposition happens when Mars is nearest to the Sun in its orbit, which happened on the night of the lunar eclipse. However, the gap between two planets was greater on the night of Lunar Eclipse than it will be today.
Mars will be visibly closest to Earth in the Southern Hemisphere. However, the visibilty won't be too bad from other parts of the world. This rare phenomena will also be visible form India too. Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles will be hosting a live stream of the event.
According to NASA this phenomena will not take place again until 2287. However, Mars will come close to Earth the next time in 2020 and the distance shall be 38.6 million miles (62 million kilometers).
NASA's Mars Science Laboratory mission, Mars Curiosity took to Twitter and wrote, "I feel so close to you right now. Mars and Earth haven't been this near since 2003, and won't be again until 2035! Look to the south tonight to see the Red Planet shining bright."
Every time the Mars comes closer to Earth, moderately large dust storms cover the continent-sized areas and last for weeks at a stretch. When Mars is closest to the Sun, hevau winds are generated due to maximum haeting and high temperatures.
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