Mars in 2022
Opposition for Mars will fall at 6 UTC on December 8, 2022 (midnight CST on the night time of December 7-8).
How one can see Mars within the sky: At opposition – as Earth flies between Mars and the solar, inserting Mars reverse the solar in our sky – Mars rises within the east at sundown, attain its highest level round midnight and units at daybreak. How will you acknowledge it? For one factor, it’s brighter than even the brightest stars. And it’s noticeably purple in colour. However, there’s an excellent higher solution to determine Mars on the night time of December 7-8. That night time, Mars shouldn’t be solely at opposition, but additionally close to December’s full moon. When you look and don’t see Mars close to the moon, that is likely to be as a result of the moon is in entrance of Mars! Read about the December 7-8 occultation of Mars.
Mars was closest to Earth at 2 UTC on December 1, 2022 (8 p.m. CST on November 30). At its closest, Mars was 4.5 light-minutes from Earth.
At opposition in 2022, Mars’ constellation is in entrance of the constellation Taurus the Bull.
Its opposition brightness is magnitude -1.9 (most brightness for 2022). At this level, though Mars is brighter than all the celebs, it nonetheless received’t be as as vibrant as Venus or Jupiter.
By means of a telescope, at opposition, Mars will seem 17.01 arcseconds throughout. Main options on Mars will present floor coloration, plus Mars’ white polar cap can be seen.
Be aware: Mars reaches opposition solely about each 26 months. This 2022 opposition may be very particular as a result of – as seen from around the globe – the moon will seem close to Mars within the sky. From some places, together with elements of North America and Europe, the moon go in entrance of Mars on the identical night time as opposition, December 7-8.
Read: Moon occults Mars on December 7-8
Read: December full moon mimics the June sun
Available now! 2023 EarthSky lunar calendar. A unique and beautiful poster-sized calendar showing phases of the moon every night of the year. Makes a great gift!
The place to observe Mars opposition and occultation on-line
View from above the photo voltaic system, December 2022
Generally, Mars is faint
Mars was in our night sky for a lot of 2021. However, round October, the purple planet disappeared from our sky for a time. Its superior conjunction – when it was most instantly behind the solar as seen from Earth – was October 8, 2021. Then, some weeks afterwards – as each Earth and Mars moved of their respective orbits across the solar – Mars returned to our sky as a faint purple dot within the east earlier than dawn. To make sure, it remained inconspicuous all through the early months of 2022.
Generally, Mars is vibrant
Mars steadily brightened within the first half of 2022, first as a morning object. However later, through the second half of 2022, Mars shines as a vibrant purple ruby within the night sky. In the end, it’ll attain opposition – when Earth will fly between Mars and the solar – on December 8, 2022.
Certainly, Mars’ dramatic swings in brightness (and its purple colour) are why the early stargazers named Mars for his or her God of War.
Generally the battle god rests. And typically he grows fierce! In truth, these adjustments are a part of the rationale Mars is so fascinating to observe within the night time sky.
Want to follow Mars? Bookmark EarthSky’s monthly night sky guide.
Mars isn’t very large
To grasp why Mars varies a lot in brightness in Earth’s sky, first understand that Mars isn’t a really large world. Certainly, it’s solely 4,219 miles (6,790 km) in diameter, making it solely barely greater than half Earth’s dimension (7,922 miles or 12,750 km in diameter).
Then again, take into account Mars in distinction to Jupiter, the most important planet in our photo voltaic system. Jupiter is 86,881 miles (140,000 km) in diameter. As an illustration, greater than 20 planets the dimensions of Mars could possibly be lined up aspect by aspect in entrance of Jupiter. Principally, Jupiter all the time seems to be vibrant, as a result of it’s so large.
Not so for little Mars, nonetheless. Moderately, its extremes in brightness need to do with its nearness (or lack of nearness) to Earth.
Future Martian oppositions
So, when is the subsequent opposition of Mars? The subsequent time Mars will seem at its brightest for that two-year interval in our sky? You guessed it. In January 2025! Try the chart on this page that lists all oppositions of Mars from 1995 to 2037.
Mars seems as a reddish gentle within the sky and, subsequently, is usually referred to as the purple planet. Mars is at present close to two apparent purple stars within the sky, reddish-orange Aldebaran and the well-known purple supergiant Betelgeuse. So, it’ll be enjoyable to match Mars’ colour and depth of purple with that of Aldebaran or Betelgeuse.
Floor temperature is what determines star colors. The most popular stars are blue; the good stars are purple. In truth, from hottest to coolest, the colours of stars vary from blue, white, yellow, orange and purple. And whereas the colours of stars is likely to be arduous to detect, some stars – like Aldebaran and Betelgeuse – are noticeably colourful.
Then again, Mars appears red for a unique cause. It’s purple due to iron oxide within the mud that covers this desert world. Iron oxide offers rust and blood its purple colour. Rovers on Mars sampled the Martian mud and decided it comprises three colours: reds, browns and oranges. So these three colours are what you might even see once you gaze upon Mars.
Do you see purple once you take a look at Mars, Aldebaran and Betelgeuse? Are they the identical colour? Do you see every other colours of stars?
Backside line: Mars has brightened all through 2022 because it attracts close to its opposition on December 8. Plus, the moon will occult – go in entrance of – Mars on December 7-8.
Photos of bright Mars in 2018, from the EarthSky community
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