Mars is Closest to Earth It's Been Since 2003, Go Take A Picture

(animation by SkyGuide/FifthStarLabs)

On July 31st around 4 am, Mars, will be the closest it has been to the planet Earth in fifteen years. You may have already noticed the bright orange star in the sky over the last week or so and people are already starting to get some stellar images of the red planet as it gets closer and closer. Check out this incredible photo by Abdul, a biomechanical scientist living in Boston.

Look at that beautiful streak of orange reflected in the water shining from the brilliance of Mars. You can buy prints of Abdul's photos here.  

How Do You Find Mars? 

Mars rises every night at sunset in the Capricorn constellation like it shows in the animation at the top of the article, and it's visible all night long. 

You should be able to capture it starting right at dusk as it will be a bright orange dot in the sky.  

How Rare is This? 

In 2003 Mars was the closest it had been to Earth in over 60,000 years at around 34.8 million miles away. On July 31st it won't be as close as it was then, as it will be roughly 1 million miles farther away at around 35.8 million miles. Don't let that extra million miles fool you. Mars will definitely be the most visible it's been since that historic moment. 

Mars Dates To Know About
  • July 27th - Mars will be the brightest it's going to be all year
  • July 30th - Mars and the Moon will be aligned close enough to get a picture of both of them in the same shot. 
  • July 31st - Mars will be closest to Earth since 2003

If you're wondering why the orbits are always so different from each other and why Mars and Earth don't regularly pass close to one another it's because our planets have an elliptical orbit around the sun and not a circular one. 

According to NASA the 34.8 million miles away that Mars wast to Earth in 2003 will be the closest the Red Planet comes to our own until Aug. 28, 2287, when it will be only 34.6 million miles away. Imagine the cameras humans will have then to capture the beauty of our closest neighbor... you know, that is if there still are humans then. Fingers crossed.