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

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the US are seeing gas prices dip below $3 a gallon More

Afghan Women's Soccer Team Building for the Future

A four-team female league was recently set up in Kabul; It will help identify players for the national team More

Video Koreas on Edge Amid Live-fire Drills

Pyongyang threatens nuclear test as joint US, S. Korean exercises show forces’ capabilities 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.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid