Mars makes closest approach in 15 years


This is the point in which Earth is sandwiched directly in the middle of the sun and Mars. This is when the two planets get as close to one another as they can get, in this case roughly 36 million miles apart.

Captured just days ago, the 2018 image shows nearly the same face of Mars.

The blood moon, seen over Melbourne in 2014.

"This subsurface anomaly on Mars has radar properties matching water or water-rich sediments", says Roberto Orosei, principal investigator of the MARSIS experiment and lead author of the paper published in the journal Science today. From the outside in are the A ring with the Encke Gap, the Cassini Division, the B ring, and the C ring with the Maxwell Gap.

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According to NASA, Mars Opposition begins Friday, July 27 around midnight.

Mars is in opposition Friday, which means that the red planet and the sun will be on opposite sides of Earth. On that day Mars will only 35.8 million miles from Earth, and the closer an object is, the brighter it appears. While previous images showed detailed surface features of the planet, this new image is dominated by a enormous sandstorm enshrouding the entire planet. But for a few months around the time of opposition, it appears to change direction.

Scroll down to see an animation of Saturn and its moons, created from Hubble imagery collected over the course of 20 hours.

Hubble's view also resolves a hexagonal pattern around Saturn's north pole, a stable and persistent wind feature discovered during the Voyager flyby in 1981.

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While observing the planet Hubble also managed to capture images of six of Saturn's 62 now known moons: Dione, Enceladus, Tethys, Janus, Epimetheus, and Mimas. Small, mid-latitude puffs of clouds are also visible.

"It hasn't been this close since 2003 and won't be again until 2287", said Kelly.

In 2003, Mars and Earth were at their closest in almost 60,000 years, coming within 34.6 million miles of each other. The sun, Earth and Mars directly align in what scientists call "Mars opposition" beginning Friday, with the red planet being the closest it's been in 15 years on Tuesday. The observatory telescope offers the viewer a chance to transform that red dot in the sky into another world.

Between 2012 and December 2015 the Planum Australe region was mapped by the Mars Advance Radar for Subsurface and Ionosphere Sounding (Marsis) instrument carried on the orbiter. The geothermal heat flux of Mars (which results from the decay of naturally occurring radioactive elements in its crust) is also thought to have been as much as two to three times higher at that time - which would have reduced the necessary thickness of polar ice for basal melting. The image on the left, taken on May 12, 2016, shows a clear atmosphere. It's now summertime in Saturn's northern hemisphere and springtime in Mars' southern hemisphere.

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Unfortunately, this year, the whole planet is covered by a global dust story.