News / Science & Technology

Sun, Earth and Mars Will Align Tuesday Night

The difference in the orbits of Earth and Mars are shown in this NASA illustration.
The difference in the orbits of Earth and Mars are shown in this NASA illustration.

Related Articles

Looking Forward: 3-D Printing and Beyond

What new technology could lie in store for the next century?

Scientists Warn NASA on Ethics of Space Travel

Panel of scientists from National Academy of Sciences says space agency should consider ethics while designing standards for future long missions

Water Found on a Saturn Moon

California Institute of Technology researchers say Saturn's moon Enceladus may be a good place to search for non-Earth life forms
VOA News
Skywatchers, especially those with an interest in Mars, will have something to look forward to Tuesday evening as Mars, the Sun and Earth all come into alignment.

The “opposition of Mars,” as the event is called, happens only once every 26 months, according to the U.S. space agency, NASA.

NASA says it’s easy to imagine opposition if you think about Earth and Mars as runners on a track.

“Earth is on the inside, Mars is on the outside,” said the agency. “Every 26 months, speedy Earth catches up to slower Mars and laps it. Opposition occurs just as Earth takes the lead.”

Don’t worry if you can’t see the sky tonight. The event will continue for another week until Earth and Mars near one another, coming within 92 million miles of each other.

NASA says that over the past month, the distance between the two planets has been shortened by 300 kilometers every minute. In 2003, Mars and Earth came as close as they’ve been in 50,000 years, NASA said.

The reason the alignment and closest approach don’t fall on the same date is because the orbits of both Earth and Mars are not circular, but rather elliptical.

NASA says opposition will be easy to see--even in cities-- because Mars and the Sun will be on opposite sides of the sky.

During the event, Mars will rise in the east at around sunset and will be almost directly overhead by midnight. The planet’s burnt-orange color will be easily spotted as it will be 10 times brighter than a first magnitude star, NASA said.

NASA added that on April 14, there will also be a total lunar eclipse causing the full Moon to “turn as red as the Red Planet itself.”

Here's a video about the event:
 

You May Like

Tunnel Bombs Highlight Savagery of Aleppo Fight

Rebels have used tunneling tactic near government buildings, command posts or supply routes to set off explosives; they detonated their largest bomb this week under Syria's intelligence headquarters More

Sierra Leone Launches New Initiative to Stop Ebola Spread

Government hopes Infection and Prevention Control Units, IPC, will help protect patients and healthcare workers More

UN Official: Fight Against Terrorism Must Not Violate Human Rights

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights says efforts by states to combat terrorism are resulting in large scale rights violations against the very citizens they claim to defend More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Em from: Australia
April 09, 2014 1:26 AM
Hey. Just wondering how visible Mars will be from the Southern Hemisphere? Will it be the same as Northern Hemisphere?

by: allisa from: jacksonville
April 08, 2014 10:07 PM
more info

by: MUSTAFA from: INDIA
April 08, 2014 9:56 PM
Good informative article.

by: Mark from: Virginia
April 08, 2014 2:50 PM
You know I will be out there to see it, both Mars and the Lunar Eclipse. Astronomy has become quite the hobby for me in recent months. I have already seen Jupiter and four of its moons through my small telescope and now I know where to find Mars. Only money and opportunity prevents me from getting anything better than the 60MM telescope I have now (which in itself was a garage sale bargain, so I can't complain... it was free)

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boyi
X
Jeff Seldin
March 05, 2015 2:36 AM
A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960's Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7th to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960’s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More