Red planet defies social distancing
Have you spotted a fiery red, star-like object in the east each evening?
That’s Mars getting up close and personal with Earth. In fact, on Tuesday 6th October the planet made its nearest approach to us since 2003.
To be fair, at 38,586,816 miles away it wasn’t in any danger of encroaching on the COVID-19 2m rule. However, it’s still the closest the planet will be to Earth until 2035. This means that Mars is particularly bright and much easier to see with the naked eye or a telescope, so if your local weather conditions are favourable it’s a great time to do some planet-spotting.
Look to the east around 19:00 to see Mars rising (after which it will continue to move south east).
During October the red planet will gradually become fainter in the night sky as Earth and Mars move away from one other in their orbits around the Sun.
It’s just as well Mars won’t get close enough to need a face mask. Can you imagine how enormous that would need to be?