will arrive Mars Today, Thursday, December 1, 2022, to its closest distance from Earth – the perihelion point – as it will be within the range of 80 million km, in a phenomenon that occurs approximately every two years and has no effect on our planet.
The Astronomical Society in Jeddah revealed, in a report, that since the size and illumination of the planet Mars increases in the night sky when it is close to the Earth, the days close to its closest distance from us represent the best time to monitor it, in addition to its luminosity currently exceeding all stars and even the star Sirius. The brightest star in the night sky.
And the report continued: This effect is clear because Mars is close to Earth in the solar system, as it orbits a little far from the sun from us at an average distance of 227,388,763 km, and as a result it has the largest variation among all the planets in the distance that separates it from Earth depending on whether the planets are on The two sides of the Sun or passing by each other.
Mars reaches its perihelion almost at the time it passes by the Earth and at this time the sun, Earth and Mars are arranged in a straight line and the Earth is in the middle, and as a result Mars appears almost opposite the sun in the sky – a phenomenon called opposition, when Mars reaches its highest point in The sky is at midnight and visible all night.
The arrival of Mars to the nearest distance from the Earth is associated almost simultaneously with the phenomenon of opposition, but the two events usually occur with a time interval of a few days now because of the orbits of the Earth and Mars around the Sun, which are elliptical, not circular, and are not at the exact same level.
Mars will be observed on the northeastern horizon after the onset of the night, and it will remain visible until the dawn of the next day. It must be emphasized that although Mars will be at the closest distance from Earth, it will appear to the observer with the naked eye as a reddish-orange point of light with a brightness of (-1), and through binoculars it can be seen as a disk of light. .
In addition, this is an opportunity to search for the very small Martian moons, Phobos (fear), with a diameter of about 22.2 km, but it is 7 times larger than the second moon, Deimos (horror), which has a diameter of about 12.4 km. That it is closer to asteroids than to large moons such as the Earth’s moon, and it is possible that Mars caught it with its gravitational force.
Mars is the only planet whose surface details can be seen from Earth. As for Mercury, it is very small, while the other planets are covered with clouds, so it is an ideal event for everyone, as Mars will be clearly and distinctly visible throughout the night and easy to identify in the dome of the sky.
To see the details of the Mars disk, the observer needs to use an 8-inch telescope and larger. It is preferable to use appropriate color filters to improve observation, as the green or blue filter will enhance the polar dome, and the red or orange filter will improve the dark details, in addition to using the (Barlow) zoom lens that is attached to the lens. The eyepiece of the telescope to improve vision.
Dark areas and light areas can be seen on the disk of Mars due to differences in reflecting light, as the light areas represent deserts while the darker areas are rocks. In addition, the northern polar dome of the planet shines brightly and there are blue clouds spreading above it that can be monitored, and the reason for its color Blue is that it consists of ice crystals of water and carbon dioxide that scatter the blue short wavelengths of sunlight, noting that rain does not fall on Mars because its atmosphere is thin and low temperatures and pressure mean that water can only exist there in the form of steam or ice. .
Since the Earth rotates on its axis about 40 minutes faster than Mars, it is possible, over the next few weeks, to see many surface features by telescope only. Through the telescope it is not visible to the naked eye.
The report concluded: In general, the coming weeks will give the opportunity to see different features of the surface of Mars as the planet rotates around its axis, and unlike most astronomical events that last for a short period or for one night, the period of this event will provide many opportunities for frequent monitoring and improving observation skills.