Written by Gary Boyle
Over the past few months, Mars has been gradually brightening and is now at its peak. It takes the Earth 365 days to orbit the Sun once, Mars is slightly away from the Sun and it takes 687 days to complete one fold.
Every 26 months or odd days, the Earth captures Mars slowly, allowing more detail to be seen on its surface through the telescope’s eye view. 60 million km on Oct. 6. When separated, Mars is large and bright.
The so-called “red” planet Mars appears orange rather than red and is the result of a large amount of rust known as iron oxide, which covers most of the Martian surface. It is now rising in the east after sunset, visible throughout the night.
Jupiter and Saturn are still seen in the western sky and set at midnight. Mercury is also hard to find close to the sun in the west. By the end of the night, the brilliant Venus is seen rising east at 4am
The days of the week are derived from these five planets that orbit along with the sun and moon. In late 2020, Mars will continue to fade as our distance increases. Our next close meeting takes place in December 2022
Since the successful launch of NASA’s Mariner 4 in July 1965, dozens of missions have been sent to Mars to learn its secrets and answer the final question, Is there life on Mars?
With the help of orbiters, landers and rovers, more and more inventions are being made. Water is one of the most important substances for finding life. Every living thing on Earth needs water and the scientist believes that Mars had oceans three billion years ago. As the planet continues to cool from its earliest creation, it loses its magnetic field and protects itself from deadly solar radiation. The solar wind blew through the atmosphere and the water evaporated.
It was recently discovered that salt water is locked in permafrost. Carrying the next mission and the small helicopter of diligence and ingenuity are currently on a seven-month voyage to reach the planet in February 2021.
Gary Boyle, also known as The Backyard Astronomer, is an astronomer, guest speaker and monthly columnist for the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. Follow him on Twitter: roastroeducator or his website, www.wondersofastronomy.com.