Watch your head – Planet coming through!
The closest most of us will ever get to Mars will be in about 2 months time – August 27th to be more precise. On that date Earth (you are here) and Mars will only be 56 million Kilometers apart.
Put simply (so that I can understand it), planets orbit the Sun in an ellipse so the distances between the planet and the Sun vary as the planet moves in it’s orbit. This also means that the distances between the planets orbiting the Sun varies too.
What will occur on the the 27th of August is an event that nerdy science types call “perihelic oppositions” – Mars will be at it’s “perihelion” (it’s closest point to the Sun) and the Earth will be in between the two of them (Mars and the Sun will be on opposite sides of the Earth).
This is the closest that Earth and Mars will have been for approximately 60,000 years – although it has gotten similarly close in recent times: August 13 1766, August 18th 1845 and August 23 1924… So if you missed it those times you may want to keep your eyes open for it this time around!
Mars is already one of the brightest stars in the morning sky, bettered only by Venus.
All this means that we are currently closing in on the red planet at about 10 km a second.. Now, I don’t want to start a panic.. but If I was a martian I’d see this as the perfect time to attack the earth and enslave it’s people.. I mean – the drop in airfares alone must make it an attractive time to launch an invasion….
You know, now that I think about it.. screw it – PANIC!
Source: Red Nova