Mars will shine brighter than it has in 15 years this summer - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Mars will shine brighter than it has in 15 years this summer

Mars will appear bigger and brighter in the night sky than it has in 15 years this July. (Source: NASA) Mars will appear bigger and brighter in the night sky than it has in 15 years this July. (Source: NASA)

(RNN) – The red planet's getting bigger and brighter this July.

That's because Mars and Earth will come nearest to each other in their orbits around the sun, an event called a "Close Approach," according to NASA.

Since the planets travel on elliptical orbits, their relative distances vary throughout the year.

The gravitational pull of other planets also influences the orbital paths of Earth and Mars – Jupiter "especially influences the orbit of Mars," according to NASA.

Mars will be closer to Earth than it's been in 15 years on Tuesday, July 31, at a distance of 35.8 million miles from us.

It came within 34.6 million miles during its Close Approach in 2003. That was the closest it had come to Earth in 60,000 years.

Mars will shine brightest between July 27 and July 30, according to NASA.

We don't often get such a great view of the planet. NASA said Mars comes close enough for "exceptional viewing" once or twice every 15 or 17 years.

So, be sure to spot our cosmic neighbor as it swings by – but don't get suckered by an online hoax saying Mars will look as big as the moon; NASA said that scientifically impossible tidbit spreads online whenever Mars gets close.

The next Close Approach will be Oct. 6, 2020, when Mars will be 38.6 million miles from Earth.

Copyright 2018 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.

  • Science & technology newsMore>>

  • Google, Facebook, others speak out against child separation

    Google, Facebook, others speak out against child separation

    Tuesday, June 19 2018 5:51 PM EDT2018-06-19 21:51:22 GMT
    Friday, June 22 2018 8:55 AM EDT2018-06-22 12:55:08 GMT
    CEOs of Facebook, Google, Apple and others speak out against child separations at the border.More >>
    CEOs of Facebook, Google, Apple and others speak out against child separations at the border.More >>
  • Science Says: What makes something truly addictive

    Science Says: What makes something truly addictive

    Thursday, June 21 2018 2:51 AM EDT2018-06-21 06:51:50 GMT
    Friday, June 22 2018 8:14 AM EDT2018-06-22 12:14:05 GMT
    (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon). FILE - In this Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013 file photo, a college student plays a computer game at an Internet cafe in Seoul, South Korea. On Monday, 18, 2018, the World Health Organization said that compulsively playing video ga...(AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon). FILE - In this Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013 file photo, a college student plays a computer game at an Internet cafe in Seoul, South Korea. On Monday, 18, 2018, the World Health Organization said that compulsively playing video ga...
    Video game "addiction" decision renews debate over whether behaviors can cause same kind of illness as drugs.More >>
    Video game "addiction" decision renews debate over whether behaviors can cause same kind of illness as drugs.More >>
  • Apple signs deal with Sesame Workshop for kids' shows

    Apple signs deal with Sesame Workshop for kids' shows

    Wednesday, June 20 2018 2:13 PM EDT2018-06-20 18:13:09 GMT
    Friday, June 22 2018 8:13 AM EDT2018-06-22 12:13:32 GMT
    Apple is getting into business with the prestigious Sesame Workshop, giving a multiple-series order to the nonprofit organization.More >>
    Apple is getting into business with the prestigious Sesame Workshop, giving a multiple-series order to the nonprofit organization.More >>
Powered by Frankly