Today, Mars makes its closest approach to Earth for all of 2022.
Look east after sunset. The planet is shining brightly in the constellation Taurus; its rusty-red color is unmistakable.
Although today is the date of closest approach, the real show happens one week from today.
On Dec. 7-8, there’s going to be a beautiful lunar occultation of Mars:
People across most of North America and Europe will be able to see this bright naked-eye event.
The full Moon will pass in front of Mars for as much as an hour, depending on the observer’s location.
At the time of the occultation, Mars will be within a week of its closest approach to Earth. This means the Red Planet’s disk will be unusually wide (more than 17 arcseconds across). Even modest backyard telescopes will reveal details on the Martian surface partially eclipsed by lunar mountains and crater rims. This is a great photo-op for amateur astronomers.
Prepare now! Stock up on Iodine tablets for the next nuclear disaster…
In the meantime, keep your eyes to the sky to watch some extremely brilliant meteor fireballs! [Space Weather]