The planet Mars will make its closest approach to Earth since 2003 this month.

High River Astronomer James Durbano with the Big Sky Astronomical Society says on Friday, July 27 you'll be able to see Mars as a very bright, red object in the Southeastern sky.

"It's called a Mars Opposition. So what happens is it's an alignment with Earth, Mars and the Sun, lined up in a nice straight line with Earth in the middle and so when that configuration happens, the distance between Earth and Mars is at a minimum."

james durbano aug10 2017 001Astronomer James Durbano preparing for the 2017 Solar Eclipse. You won't need the glasses to view Mars when it comes within 57 million kilometres of Earth on July 27.

Durbano, says it might be a little tough to see surface features through a telescope though.

"Recently there's been a big dust storm on Mars, and so that's kind of obscuring the view. But hopefully that'll settle down a little bit and so anyone looking at Mars through a little telescope, or even a big telescope, will get a chance to see some of the surface features on Mars on that evening."

Durbano says Mars will be about 57 million kilometres from Earth, which in astronomical terms, is very close.

Durbano says the Big Sky Astronomical Society's observatory site at the Twin Valley Dam will be the place to be that night to get a great look at Mars.

 

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