Mars will be visible in the skies above Ireland tonight

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A map of the sky that shows Mars and Saturn, as they can be seen from NY on July 31 at 11 pm.

At 3:50 a.m. EDT (0750 GMT), Mars reached the closest point to Earth in its orbit. With Mars and the Sun on either sides and Earth in the middle, the three celestial bodies will be in a straight line on Tuesday.

Another close encounter like 2003´s will not happen until the year 2287.

The Red Planet is now brighter than usual and will glow even more - and look larger - tonight. Add a telescope and you can see a detailed view of the planet's surface and its polar caps.

Jan Cami, director of the Hume Cronyn Observeratory and an associate professor of astronomy at Western, told CBC's London Morning Tuesday that it's a big deal because Mars will be about 40-million kilometres closer than it comes in other close approaches. At their nearest, the two planets will be just 35.8 million miles (57.6 million kilometres) apart.

"You can't miss it, just find a clear viewing point and look up". Mars will still be visible in the night sky for the next few months.

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Observatories across the USA are hosting viewing events today to mark the occasion.

You can re-watch the webcast, which was hosted by Laura Danly, online. Technically, in solar system talk, they are. In fact, Aldrin spoke passionately in the webcast about a future hope to first return to the moon, and then Mars.

Observatory Director Ed Krupp remarked, "Mars is invading us tonight".

Mars will start to dim by around mid-August and return to its normal magnitude of brightness around the start of September.

"This may be responsible for a string of bright clouds visible near the northern polar region that are the remnants of a disintegrating storm", NASA wrote. This fly-by means that Mars, Earth, and the Sun are all lined up with each other. Astronomers don't really know why or how long it will take before it goes away. When the planet reaches its closest distance from Earth later today, it allows stargazers to see it in its brightest form.

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