How to see Mars opposition and blood moon eclipse with no telescope

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Also on Friday, NASA plans to release what scientists say will be stunning new images of Mars taken by the Hubble Space Telescope.

The Red Planet will be just 35.8 million miles away from humanity's homeworld next Tuesday. The closest it ever comes to Earth is 33.9 million miles.

"Even with bright moonlight, you can't miss Mars", Samuhel said.

The planet will reach its closest approach on July 31.

To find Mars, look to the southeastern sky around 11 p.m. Astronomers measure the night sky in degrees - the horizon is at zero, directly overhead is at 90 degrees. 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.

The 2003 opposition was the closest approach in nearly 60,000 years, it added.

While Mars has seemed closer for a while now, it will seem biggest and brightest through the end of the July, since Mars Close Approach is July 31.

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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.

During opposition, Mars is especially photogenic because it can be seen fully illuminated by the Sun as viewed from Earth. The sun, moon and Venus are usually the top three brightest objects. In 1877, Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli claimed to have seen canals on Mars, suggesting there could be possible civilization, or Martians, on the red planet.

A massive dust storm that has engulfed the planet will make viewing surface details more hard than it typically would be for those using a telescope, but the dust also reflects the sun's light better, making the planet appear all that much brighter. Areas from the Plains to the West would have the best view of Mars as it passes Earth.

MTSU's Department of Physics and Astronomy will be giving the public a chance to get a closer look at Mars and other planets during "opposition" on Friday, July 27, for this month's Star Party event.

The blood moon will be the longest total lunar eclipse of the 21st century and will occur just after 9pm United Kingdom time on Friday July 27.

This won't happen again until 2287, Nasa has predicted.

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.

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