"Mars Closer to Earth This Week in Almost 60,000 Years!  Only Neanderthal Man has Ever Seen it This Bright!"

Scheduled air date: 2003 Aug 25-31

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!
(The relative positions of Earth [blue orbit] and Mars [red orbit] are shown from high above the Sun's North Pole. The orbits of Mercury and Venus are also shown for reference.)

Brilliant Mars can be easily seen in the evening sky looking southeast shortly after dusk.
(Shown about an hour after sunset over the next two weeks for mid-northern latitudes.)

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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