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Mars at closest approach to Earth on Jan 27

posted on 24/01/2010: 2314 views



Mars' closest approach will occur at 18:44 UT on January 27, 2010 (10:44pm - UAE) with an apparent planetary disk diameter of 14.11' at a distance of (99,3 million km), according to the Emirates Mobile Astronomical Observer in a statement.

3 observing points will be set up in Khalidiya Family Park by the observor in coordination with Community Police for members of the public, according to head of the Observer and member of the Arab Union for Astronomy and Space Sciences (AUASS) Nizar Salam who added that on January 29th, 2010, Mars will be directly opposite the Sun in the sky - or "opposition." Professional and amateur astronomers get excited about planetary oppositions because this is when that particular planet is closest to Earth, which means telescopic viewing and astrophotography is at its best because the planet appears brighter and bigger than usual, he noted.

The Mars Opposition will occur at 19:48 UT (11:48 pm - UAE) with an apparent planetary disk diameter of 14.1 arcsec.

The Red Planet will remain visible for nearly a year after opposition and then become lost in the glare of the Sun again (January 21, 2011) as it approaches the next conjunction (February 4, 2011). The cycle is complete in 780 Earth days.

On the night of 29 January, Mars will rise in the East as the sun sets and be well positioned to view with telescopes in January and February (it will be easily visible for several more months, but it won't be as bright, nor will it be as large when viewed through a telescope). Mars won't be this big or bright until 2012.

Through unaided eye and telescopes, Mars appears Red because of the oxygen from water and from the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere combined with minerals, mainly iron, in the rocks and dust. It is this oxidized iron, the rust that gives Mars its red colour. And as it's known the name of the month March derives from Mars.

Depending on the sky conditions and using a telescope, amateur astronomers can see the polar ice cap and some darker markings on the surface and some cloud.

On 30 January a full moon will occurs at 10:18 Am UAE Time , just 3 hours later at 1:04 Pm , Moon Makes it's closet approach (Perigee)to earth for 2010 and the distance become 356.600 km only , 7%less than its average distance and this will make the full moon appear slightly larger than usual .

And for this Phenomenon Emirates Mobile Observatory invites everyone to attend the monitoring of the Closest approach and the Oppositions of MARS on 29 January 2010 at Al Khalidiya Family park from 9:00pm to 12:30Am. - Emirates News Agency, WAM

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