Saturday, December 22

Bright Mars

20 December. We gazed at Mars in the early evening about 8:30. Looking to the east and a little north, it was easy to see — big, bright and yellow. It was even brighter than Sirius, and stays brighter until 3 January.

On the 18th of December Mars reached its closest distance (54,783, 380 mi, 88 165 305 km) to Earth; it will not get closer until 2016.

It's lucky we looked when we did. Mars will actually get brighter on 24 December, when its in opposition with the Sun (exactly opposite the Sun with Earth in the middle). But during January, Earth leaves Mars fast: The distance between them increases by about 30% — from 56.7 to 72.3 million miles, in a month. And Mars fades in brightness a full magnitude.

1 comment:

sukumar said...

Nice post April. Welcome to the blogosphere. Wish you and your family a bright and bountiful new year.