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Mars Close Approach


Last updated 5/31/2016 at 4:08am

Courtesy of NASA

Mars Close Approach

Sunday night saw Mars edge towards its closest point to Earth in 11 years as it appeared much bigger and brighter than usual.

Amateur astronomer Dr Ian Musgrave, from the University of Adelaide, said it would trump Venus as the brightest object in the sky, aside from the Sun and the Moon on May 30.

As Venus is currently hidden behind the Sun, Mars is coming into opposition - where once every two years, Mars and the Sun are on directly opposite sides of the Earth.

"At the moment Mars is now the brightest object in the sky. It is brighter even than Jupiter," he said. "From the point of view of someone standing around looking into the sky, it is just going to be a bright dot," he warned, as a telescope will be needed to fully appreciate the event. "But even if you have a small telescope, the disc of Mars will be big enough to see details and maybe even the polar cap.".

According to NASA, Mars Close Approach, will bring Mars to a distance of 75.3 million kilometres away from Earth - the closest it has been to our planet since 2003.

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