Today on August 27th, the distance between the Earth and the Mars will reach its absolute minimum, which happens in the universe once in five thousand years.
The moments when the planets come closer to each other are called "opposition" in the scientific world, academic secretary of the Astronomy Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences Dmitry Ptitsyn recalled in an interview with a RIA Novosti correspondent.
An opposition takes place once in every two years. A somewhat bigger opposition is called "great" and happens once in 15-17 years. The event of August 27th will be unique as the Earth and the Mars will be separated by "mere" 55,746,199 km. It is by 307,000 km closer than during the great oppositions.
"Tonight the Mars will shine brighter than any other star with an orange, non-flickering glow. Its brightness will be dozens of times higher than usual. Actually, we, earthlings, will see it so for the first time in the history of the planet's observation. Its next increased shining /when coming closer to the Earth/ will take place in 2270, but then it will be farther from the Earth and will be less bright".
Even with a home telescope it will be possible to see the terrain of the neighbour planet, the scientist said.
The Mars will be moving away from the Earth orbit gradually, so it will be easily seen till the first days of September, Ptitsyn added.