Mars is so close to Earth that it will disappear from the sky for over an hour on December 8th!

Mars is so close to Earth that it will disappear from the sky for over an hour on December 8th!

This is a rare phenomenon that can be seen everywhere in France with the naked eye and even in the middle of the city: the occultation of Mars by the moon. The red planet will disappear before your eyes for several minutes. 1R December, Mars is closest to Earth.

The bright orange dot you see now in the evening above the eastern, northeastern horizon March. Our neighbor shines between the two horns of Taurus and begins to slide to the right (west) in early December. like this ConstellationConstellation Soaring in the sky nocturnalnocturnalThis is an advantage for observing the Red Planet in an instrument (reflective telescope). TelescopeTelescope) at night, because TurbulenceTurbulence The atmosphere is weaker near the horizon than down below.

1 this ThursdayR In December, Mars will be closest to Earth, at a distance of about 81.4 million kilometers. This is not as close as a few years ago, in 2003, during the exceptional alignment between our two planets at a distance of 56 million kilometers, but it is better than the most distant planets that move us by more than 100 million kilometers. . These variations are due toAround the circular pathAround the circular path Mars’ elliptical orbit around the Sun.

Rare event: Mars eclipsed by the moon!

The Sun will precisely oppose Mars a week later, on December 8, at its time. HidingHiding. In other words, the planet is perfectly aligned with Earth and our star, but cannot be seen at this precise moment. Of course, you can appreciate it all night before the event, still in Taurus, and halfway between the star El Nath shining at the tip of the Western Horn. AldebaranAldebarani’the eyethe eye Taurus.

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So at the end of the night (December 7 to 8) Th the moonthe moon Going ahead of it, it’s going to disappear at around 1h30.A rare eclipse not to be missed from 6am, it ends in front of the twinkling lights.the dawnthe dawn, a few minutes before sunrise. It takes a few seconds for the moon to swallow Mars whole. If the north-western horizon is clear, in France and in most of northern and western Europe (see map), it is a magnificent sight that can be followed by the naked eye everywhere without difficulty in the middle of the city. .

A moment of grace that many photographers never miss under any circumstances, surely, the AstronomersAstronomers Beginner or confirmed amateur. A TelescopeYou can guess the details like the surface of Mars the massesthe masses Dark features. Note that Gale crater is located on the edge of one of them Curiosity rover, ahead of us and in the center of Mars’ red disk, just before eclipse (see map of Mars at 7 a.m. on Dec. 8). An opportunity to reflect on him and salute his work PersistenceOn the other hand.

So Mars eclipse a full moonfull moon Dazzling beyond comparison. It does not pose any danger to the eyes, however variationvariation would be wise. Once your eyes get used to its brilliance, you will have plenty of time to appreciate it jointjoint The moon and its reliefs are crushed by the bright light of the sun. Because the moon is full, there is no shadow on the ground to help our eyes perceive the roughness of its surface.

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This event occurs a month after the previous event, different, but spectacular and the Europeans unfortunately escape: A total lunar eclipse With the bonus of the eclipse of Uranus, a distant and cold world with a turquoise blue glow, it is much larger than Mars and Earth.

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