Mars Opposition | by Brian Koberlein



26 August 2014

Fake image showing Mars as large as the Moon.
by way of Reddit
Faux picture exhibiting Mars as giant because the Moon.

No, Mars won’t seem as huge because the Moon tomorrow night time. I’m positive that’s a reality most of you already know, however the rumor has made its annual return to social media, so I determine it’s price stating once more. The picture you see above, in addition to different comparable pictures, is pretend.

Mars at opposition.
Mars at opposition.

For a lot of, this rumor marks the start of the Fall season. The leaves start to alter, kids return to highschool, and this rumor spreads throughout Fb like a prairie wildfire. It appears so far again to 2003, when round this time Mars approached opposition. Opposition is when the Solar, Earth and planet are all alongside a straight line, in order that the planet is highest within the sky at midnight. Mercury and Venus can by no means be at opposition, since their orbits are contained in the orbit of Earth.

The 2008 Lunar occultation of Mars gives a better comparison of their relative sizes in the sky.
Ron Dantowitz
The 2008 Lunar occultation of Mars provides a greater comparability of their relative sizes within the sky.

When a planet like Mars is at opposition, it’s principally as near Earth as it could possibly presumably be, and since it’s reverse the Solar it’s simply seen at the hours of darkness of night time. So opposition is often when Mars is at its largest and brightest. However even then the obvious measurement of Mars will not be remotely that of the Moon. Mars is bigger than the moon, but in addition a lot farther away, and it’s the mixture of the 2 that determines an object’s obvious measurement.

When Mars is at opposition, it isn’t all the time at its largest obvious measurement. In truth, it’s normally barely smaller than its most measurement. Earth and Mars don’t have completely round orbits, so if opposition happens when Mars is farthest from the Solar (at aphelion) it can look smaller. When opposition happens when Mars is closest to the Solar (at perihelion) it is going to be bigger.

The final time Mars opposition was close to perihelion was in 2003, therefore the rumor. The subsequent time it is going to be close to perihelion is in July of 2018. I’m positive you’ll get a heads up when the rumor seems as soon as once more.

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