Mars will shine brighter than it has in 15 years this summer - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

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>>

  • Bye bye bugs? Scientists fear non-pest insects are declining

    Bye bye bugs? Scientists fear non-pest insects are declining

    Thursday, September 20 2018 1:19 AM EDT2018-09-20 05:19:36 GMT
    Friday, September 21 2018 6:22 AM EDT2018-09-21 10:22:30 GMT
    (AP Photo/Don Ryan). FILE - In this May 26, 2010 file photo, a Coccinellidae, more commonly known as a ladybug or ladybird beetle, rests on the petals of a rose in Portland, Ore. A study estimates a 14 percent decline in ladybugs in the United States a...(AP Photo/Don Ryan). FILE - In this May 26, 2010 file photo, a Coccinellidae, more commonly known as a ladybug or ladybird beetle, rests on the petals of a rose in Portland, Ore. A study estimates a 14 percent decline in ladybugs in the United States a...

    Scientists are noticing fewer and fewer moths, ladybugs, fireflies and butterflies, but they can't quite quantify what's happening to flying insects because they never measured how many bugs there used to be.

    More >>

    Scientists are noticing fewer and fewer moths, ladybugs, fireflies and butterflies, but they can't quite quantify what's happening to flying insects because they never measured how many bugs there used to be.

    More >>
  • Food research articles retracted by leading medical journal

    Food research articles retracted by leading medical journal

    Wednesday, September 19 2018 7:20 PM EDT2018-09-19 23:20:00 GMT
    Thursday, September 20 2018 9:42 PM EDT2018-09-21 01:42:29 GMT
    Medical journal retracts food studies by a Cornell University marketing professor because it says the results can't be verified.More >>
    Medical journal retracts food studies by a Cornell University marketing professor because it says the results can't be verified.More >>
  • State-backed hackers target Gmail of US senators, aides

    State-backed hackers target Gmail of US senators, aides

    Thursday, September 20 2018 12:58 AM EDT2018-09-20 04:58:51 GMT
    Thursday, September 20 2018 9:40 PM EDT2018-09-21 01:40:13 GMT
    (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File). FILE - In this Feb. 4, 2015, file photo, Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., checks his phone as he arrives for a bipartisan lunch in the Kennedy Caucus Room on Capitol Hill in Washington. Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden is proposing new legisl...(AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File). FILE - In this Feb. 4, 2015, file photo, Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., checks his phone as he arrives for a bipartisan lunch in the Kennedy Caucus Room on Capitol Hill in Washington. Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden is proposing new legisl...
    A U.S. senator says foreign government hackers continue to stalk U.S. senators and their aides through personal email accounts, but the Senate's security arm won't help defend them.More >>
    A U.S. senator says foreign government hackers continue to stalk U.S. senators and their aides through personal email accounts, but the Senate's security arm won't help defend them.More >>
Powered by Frankly

1100 Banyan Blvd.
West Palm Beach, FL 33401

FCC Public File
EEO Report
Closed Captioning

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 Raycom Media. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.