Mars will be closest to Earth today in a unique celestial rendezvous in 15 years

The closest approach on Tuesday will make Mars brightest since 2003.

Don't forget to look up and catch a glimpse of a brighter Mars tonight as the Red Planet makes its closest approach to Earth in 15 years on 31 July when the two planets will be 57.6 million kilometres apart.

On 27 July, Mars was at opposition, meaning that the Sun and the Red Planet came opposite to each other, keeping the Earth in the middle.

A map of Mars produced from images captured by Mangalyaan. Image courtesy: ISRO

A map of Mars produced from images captured by Mangalyaan. Image courtesy: ISRO

Mars comes at opposition at an average interval of two years and two months when the planet comes close to the Earth and becomes brighter, the Ministry of Earth Science said in a statement.

Mars opposition that had occurred in August 2003 brought the two planets closest distance in approximately 60,000 years.

The closest approach on Tuesday will make Mars brightest since 2003.

During opposition, Mars is especially photogenic because it can be seen fully illuminated by the Sun as viewed from Earth.

By mid-August, Mars will become fainter as Mars and Earth travel farther away from each other in their orbits around the Sun, according to NASA.

The next Mars close approach will be on 6 October, 2020.

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