Mars to burn brightly tonight, but no lunar eclipse to be seen

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Between now and July 31, the planet Mars will apear to spectators on Earth to be its biggest and brightest since 2003. Source: NASA

If you step outside about midnight tonight and look to the southern sky, you will see Mars shining more brightly than it has since 2003.

Astronomers call this the Mars close approach, when the orbit of the red planet brings it closest to Earth at a distance of a mere 35.8 million miles or 57.6 million kilometers.

Mars will be brightly visible until July 30 and reach its closest point to Earth July 31, according to scientists.

By mid-August, Mars will become fainter over the next few weeks as it takes its leave of Earth in its orbit around the Sun.

The next Mars close approach is predicted for Oct. 6, 2020.

Sadly, the longest “blood moon” eclipse of this century will also occur tonight but will be completely unseen by spectators in Greenland and North America, but Perry-area space lovers can watch the lunar eclipse livestreamed on YouTube.

In other space news, a mysterious conjunction of opposites led Perry Public Works Department workers to begin Friday to dismantle and prepare for shipping the Discover Space exhibit after its 10-week voyage through th orbit of the Perry Public Library.

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