Mars was the brightest in the light on Tuesday night due to the perfect location of the planets, which allowed it to reflect more sunlight to Earth.
This is because Mars was in opposition, or on the very opposite side of the Earth from the Sun, The Washington Post reports. This, combined with the fact that Mars was particularly close to Earth in its orbit right now, made the planet so clear that amateur astronomers could use telescopes to take clear photos of its surface directly from their backyards.
You don’t need a spaceship to see Mars! You can’t miss it in the eastern sky right after sunset or south to midnight local time. Today, Mars is in opposition, ie it is located directly opposite the Sun, which makes it especially bright. https://t.co/gAbOkp9Fs3 pic.twitter.com/N59zEyXYEh
̵1; Mars NASA (@NASAMars) October 13, 2020
Photographers documented the event well, as with this video at intervals distributed on Reddit, which shows that the entire planet is clearly rotating.
Mars, a stack of 1,200 frames with the Huawei P20 through a 17mm eyepiece and 2x Barlow on the Skywatcher 127 Mak-Cas, processed in Photoshop. pic.twitter.com/QqTRaXYWoB
– jack mullion (@jackmullion) October 15, 2020
According to NASA, Mars is actually quite often in opposition – about once every 26 months. But much less often – the opposition is lined up on Mars and Earth, passing next to each other in their orbits. This only happens once every 15-17 years, which makes Tuesday night’s events a rare occurrence.
Mars shines on this pic.twitter.com/5Z5cGQIAek
– Mary (@ BLOODYM4RIY) October 15, 2020
Mars actually took the closest approach to Earth the week before, on October 6, and it will be close again by 2035, WaPo reports.
# Mars in opposition from my backyard in # Johannesburg 2020.10.13 UTC 20:45. Captured # ZWOASI224mc 3 x Barlow and Celestron 8 “. Sharpcap – Autostakkert – Registax – 5 x 3000 photos with accumulation, derotted with WinJupos #Astrophotography pic.twitter.com/UV5FRijj39
– Grant Petersen (@ GP_O11) October 13, 2020
But in case you missed the show, Mars will again pass near Earth on the first day of December 2022 and in a week will go into opposition, creating a re-performance – albeit less dazzling – of Tuesday’s show.
I almost forgot!
Happy Opposition Day to Mars, people. pic.twitter.com/4F7caSo3Tn
– Dave Eagle FRAS 🔭 A star that craves crazy! (@Dave_StarGeezer) October 13, 2020
READ MORE: Mars shines extremely bright tonight, balanced in front of the sun[[[[The Washington Post]
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