With its shrunken polar cap and its large apparent angular size, Mars is viewed here during Martian … [+]
On October 6, 2020, Mars makes its closest approach to Earth until 2035.
Earth orbits in a nearly circular path, completing a revolution every 365 days. Mars orbits in the … [+]
Earth and Mars both orbit the Sun in the same direction, but at different speeds and distances.
The relative orbits of Earth and Mars around the Sun over the timespan of ~20 Earth years. Note that … [+]
Wayne Pafko, 2000
Consequently, Earth only overtakes Mars once every 780 days: just over 2 years.
NASA’s Mars 2020 mission, which includes the Perseverance rover, was launched at the end of July, … [+]
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As they both orbit the Sun, Mars can take on angular diameter values as small as just ~3 … [+]
Jeffrey D. Beish / alpo-astronomy.org
From Earth’s perspective, Mars’s angular size varies the most, percentagewise, of any planet.
The seven extraterrestrial planets of the solar system: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, … [+]
Telescopes reveal Mars’s axial rotation, even during a single night.
This stacked composite set of images of Mars from September, 2020, shows how Mars rotates over the … [+]
Andrew Symes / @FailedProtostar on Twitter
Unlike Earth, Mars’s seasons are determined by its highly elliptical orbit, not its axial tilt.
The orbits of the planets in the inner solar system aren’t exactly circular, but they’re quite … [+]
NASA / JPL
Martian “winter” occurs when it’s farthest from the Sun, with “summer” arriving when it’s closest.
These two views of Mars, from the Hubble Space Telescope in 1997, show the red planet’s surface … [+]
Phil James, Steve Lee, and NASA
When Martian summer aligns with Earth’s closest approach, Mars appears at its largest.
7 different images of Mars taken at or near closest approach with Earth from 1995-2007. Note that … [+]
ESA/Hubble & NASA, and the Hubble Heritage Team
Martian summer coincides with the highest dust storm risks, which famously occurred in 2001 and 2018.
In the summer of 2001, which also coincided with Martian summer, a dust storm blanketed the entire … [+]
NASA, J. Bell, M. Wolff, and the Hubble Heritage Team
This year, Earth overtakes Mars near Mars’s perihelion, creating its closest approach until 2035.
The relative distances between Earth and Mars during the moments of “closest approach” between the … [+]
Mars’s presently cooperative weather enables even amateur skywatchers to see surface features, like its (shrunken) polar ice cap.
The three images shown here, all composed by Martin Ratcliffe, showcase how the polar cap on the … [+]
Mars remains bright and celestially well-positioned for viewing all throughout October.
Every 780 days, the Sun, Earth, and Mars will align in a straight line, with Earth’s closest … [+]
2018 Peter Kovalik / CBC News
Even at a maximum of 25.1 arc-seconds in size, Mars only ever appears point-like without additional magnification.
On Friday, October 2, 2020, the nearly full Moon approached Mars in the skies to within less than 1 … [+]
NurPhoto via Getty Images
Mostly Mute Monday tells an astronomical story in images, visuals, and no more than 200 words. Talk less; smile more.