Mars to be very close to Earth on July 27

Astronomers predict that the Mars will come close to the Earth in 5 years

Scientists find the source of all that crazy Mars dust

The research team looked at the chemical composition of Mars dust using data collected by rovers and landers from different points across the Red Planet.

On Earth, the Northern and Southern lights occur when the solar wind (electrically charged particles from the Sun) follow our planet's geomagnetic field lines to the poles and collide with the upper atmosphere. Mars and Earth will be about 57.6 million km away from each other on July 27.

"Mars wouldn't be almost this dusty if it wasn't for this one enormous deposit that is gradually eroding over time and polluting the planet, essentially", said study co-author Kevin Lewis from Johns Hopkins University. This year, Earth is near its farthest distance from the sun, and Mars is close to its minimum distance to the sun - that puts Earth and Mars very close to each other.

"In this case it's going to appear about five times brighter than usual", added Kelly. "The end of July and early August mark one of those opportunities".

A massive dust storm is presently engulfing Mars, obscuring surface details normally visible through telescopes.

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This means you can see it with the naked eye. In 1877, Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli claimed to have seen canals on Mars, suggesting there could be possible civilization, or Martians, on the red planet.

The size of the red planet hasn't actually changed, but where it is in its orbit has lessened the distance between it and Earth, making it appear bigger to us Earthlings as it gets closer.

"It's magnificent. It's as bright as an airplane landing light", said Widener University astronomer Harry Augensen. Back in 2003, Mars had come close to our planet and that was an event in which the Red Planet was that close after 60,000 years. In 2003, Mars was 34.6 million miles from Earth. You can't miss it. NASA says an approach that close won't happen again until 2287. The best viewing of the planet will coincide with the lunar eclipse on Friday, July 27.

Mars' next close approach is October 6, 2020. Experts advise taking long continuous views of Mars through your telescope - at least five to 10 minutes at a time - to give your eye a chance to adjust to the light level in the eyepiece. North America is the only continent on Earth from which the eclipse will not be visible.

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