Mars' next close approach is October 6, 2020. Mars will be at a distance of 35.8 million miles. "If Earth and Mars followed perfectly circular orbits, opposition would be as close as the two planets could get".
And on July 31, Mars will be at its closest approach to Earth in both their orbits around the sun.
Mars will rise in the southeast around sunset and slowly track across the sky throughout the night before setting to the southwest around sunrise, local time. Back in 2003, Mars had come close to our planet and that was an event in which the Red Planet was that close after 60,000 years. This year, Earth is near its farthest distance from the sun, and Mars is close to its minimum distance to the sun - that puts Earth and Mars very close to each other. However, the planet will appear around the same brightness on the night of opposition and the night that it is making its closest approach to Earth.
If Mars seems unusually large and bright in the night sky this weekend, it's not your imagination.
If the weather does not cooperate for stargazers, there should still be plenty of opportunities to see the planet in the coming weeks.
When those high-speed incoming atoms hit the Martian atmosphere, some of their energy was emitted as ultraviolet light, which is invisible to the human eye but detectable to instruments like IUVS. That same day, parts of the world will see a total lunar eclipse.
During opposition, Mars is especially photogenic because it can be seen fully illuminated by the Sun as viewed from Earth.
This Friday, July 27, 2018, Mars will be brighter in the night sky than it has been in 15 years due to an astronomical event called opposition, which occurs when Earth passes directly between the sun and the red planet, or when Mars is directly opposite the sun in our sky.
'Not quite as bright as Venus, but still because of the reddish, orange-ish-red colour, you really can't miss it in the sky'.
While the blood moon eclipse will not be visible from North America, it will visible across much of Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia, weather permitting. For some, that means a chance to see a total lunar eclipse - the longest of the 21st century, but the eclipse won't be visible from the United States.