Mars making closest approach to Earth in 15 years

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Mars at opposition will take place on Thursday night into early Friday morning - the first time that Mars has been at opposition since May 2016.

It will be visible much of the night, so just look for a bright star with a reddish hue.

Mars will shine bright and look bigger between now and Tuesday.

Mars will rise in the southeast around sunset and slowly track across the sky throughout the night before setting to the southwest around sunrise, local time.

Mars will soon appear brighter than normal, and make its closest approach to Earth in the last 15 years.

Mars will be at its brightest appearance since 2003 when Mars made its closest approach to Earth in nearly 60,000 years.

Proton auroras do occur at Earth, but not as often as at Mars. Mars will be at a distance of 35.8 million miles (57.6 million kilometers). The release of the photos coincides with the planet's close approach to Earth.

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Experts also found out that these proton auroras occur a lot more frequently on Mars than the auroras on our planet, which has a powerful magnetic field.

During this time, Earth passes in-between Mars and the sun, putting the two planets near their closest points to each other and making Mars especially brilliant in the night sky.

This means you can see it with the naked eye. Mars can be seen near Capricornus.

A massive dust storm that has engulfed the planet will make viewing surface details more hard than it typically would be for those using a telescope, but the dust also reflects the sun's light better, making the planet appear all that much brighter. If the storm doesn't break, skywatchers may only see a big orange disk, according to Mike Lynch, an amateur astronomer and professional meteorologist writing for twincities.com in Minneapolis. On Mars, they are the result of protons, and scientists have just figured out how the events happen.

Mars arrives at opposition on the same day as July's full moon.

The blood moon will be the longest total lunar eclipse of the 21st century and will occur just after 9pm United Kingdom time on Friday July 27.

Since around July 7, Mars has been brighter than Jupiter, which is normally the second-brightest planet and fourth-brightest object in the sky.

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