“If both the Earth and Mars circled the sun in perfect circles, and on the same exact plane, the distance between Earth and Mars would always be least on the day of Mars’ opposition. But we don’t live in such a symmetrical universe,” according to Earthsky.org.
The last close approach between the planets in 2018 was even closer than this one, but in 2003, the pair made a historic approach. In 2003, Mars came closer to Earth than it had in about 60,000 years, 34.65 million miles (55.76 million km), according to Earthsky.org. The Red Planet won’t come closer than this until Aug. 28, 2287 when it will be 34.60 million miles (55.69 million km) from Earth, according to Earthsky.org.
While skywatching hoaxes continue to live on on the internet, do note that, while Mars will be especially close today, it will not be as big (or even “nearly as big”) as the moon in the sky. While Mars will shine extra bright this October, its close approach isn’t even remotely close enough to appear as large as the moon. In fact, there is never an occasion where Mars looks as big as the moon in the sky.
While you’re looking up at the sky to spot Mars, keep your eyes peeled for satellites as this week is World Space Week, which this year celebrates satellite technology. You can find out how to spot satellites via the World Space Week website here.