The Red Planet’s orbit will put it the closest it’s been to Earth in 15 years…

Are you still on a high from last weekend’s lunar eclipse and blood moon? Then you’ll be pleased to hear that another awesome space-related phenomenon is taking place in the sky tonight.

UAE stargazers will get the chance to see the planet Mars in the night sky as it will be clearly visible to the naked eye. Dusty weather permitting, of course.

Mars will be visible in the event horizon at sunset on Tuesday, making its way to the centre of the sky where it will be most visible at midnight.

This will be closest that the Red Planet has been to the Earth since 2003. This is because the planets in our galaxy travel on oval-shaped orbits around the sun, therefore every 15 to 17 years Mars and Earth line up to where they are only 57.5 million kilometres apart. In contrast, Mars is normally about 225 million kilometres away from Earth. The phenomenon is known as “Perihelion Opposition”.

While Earth’s closest neighbouring planet will be clearly visible to the naked eye tonight, if you want to get as close a look as possible you can head to the Thuraya Astronomy centre at Mushrif Park in Dubai. You can either bring your own telescope or rent one – there will also be space experts on hand to tell you about what you’ll be witnessing.

Of course, if you miss it you can always come back in 2035 which is the next time that Mars will be this close to the Earth. No biggie.

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