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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Mars in the Cosmic Alignment with Earth, and Sun

Interesting astronomical phenomenon will occur on Tuesday, April 8, 2014. Earth, Mars, and the Sun will be in a straight line. One line position of the Earth, Mars, and the Sun is called the opposition event. This phenomenon occurs every 778 days, or 2 years 1 month 18 days.
Illustration of planetary orbits in the Solar System. (Picture from: http://sains.kompas.com/)
Earth requires 365 days to circle the sun. While Mars much longer, takes 687 days. On the Sun rotation process, there are times when the Earth and Mars will appear one line if people see the entire solar system from above.

As described by Space on Saturday, April 5, 2014, the opposition of Mars will be followed by another interesting phenomenon. Six days later, Mars will be closer to Earth so it would seem a little bigger.

There are two kinds of Mars opposition. For simplicity's sake, can be categorized as “favorable” and “unfavorable”. The division was based on the distance of Mars from the Sun. When Mars reaches its closest point to the Sun or perihelion (about 206 million km or 128.4 million miles), that's when the opposition is considered favorable because the Mars distance to Earth is closer. This favorable opposition have occurred in 2003, based on the picture above, when Mars is in the four o'clock position.

On the unfavorable oposition will occurs when Mars is in the most distant point to the Sun (aphelion). When aphelion, Mars is in the range of about 250 million km (154.9 million miles). The condition of this opposition have occurred in March 2012.

Today opposition will be slightly better than in 2012, and will continue to be good until 2018. When Mars approaches Earth on April 14, 2014, the planet will be within 92.4 million kilometers.
To illustrate the difference with March 2012 condition, the distance between Mars and Earth is 100.9 million kilometers. While in August 2003 was only 55.8 million km. However, in this year will be the best moment to see Mars. So, when the sky is clear, look to the sky and Mars. And Mars will appear as a red dot in the sky. If you can see it, do not forget to take a picture. The red planet could even be photographed with a smartphone camera. *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | SPACE]
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