"Mars Doubles its Brightness this Month as it Races Towards Earth and Has a Super Spectacular Meeting with the Moon on the 17th"

Scheduled air date: 2003 Jul 07-13

You can see the planet Mars over the southeastern horizon around midnight for the next couple of weeks.  The Waning Gibbous Moon will appear to pass right by our neighbor planet on the night of July 16-17, actually passing in front of Mars as seen from southern Florida.
(Shown around midnight of July 7th-27th for mid-northern latitudes.  Mars' position is shown at ten-day intervals.  Inset shows the Moon and Mars from central United States.)

Mars was in conjunction—on the far side of the Sun from Earth—on August 10th of last year, at a distance of 248 million miles from Earth.  Since then, Mars has been coming closer and closer to Earth, until, on August 27th of this year, it will be a mere 34.5 million miles away; the closest it has been in nearly 60,000 years!
(Shown from high above the Sun's North Pole. The orbits of Mercury and Venus are also shown for reference.)

If you wish to view illustrations for other episodes, please see our Star Gazer Illustrated directory.

Illustrations on this page were created using TheSky Astronomy Software, an advanced desktop planetarium program designed for Windows.

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