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Mars 2018

During this apparition, Mars will come into Opposition on July 28, 2018 in the constellation Capricornus, when it will shine at an apparent visual brightness of -2.78 mag. Four days later, on July 31, 2018, it will have its closest approach to Earth during this apparition, with a distance of only 35.994 million miles (57.59 million km, 0.38496 AU), and an apparent diameter of 24.31". This will be the closest approach since the record opposition of 2003, and become comparatively close only in 2031. It is so close as Mars is not far from its perihelion, which it will reach on September 16, 2018; therefore, this one is called a perihelic apparition. It is also intermediate between the Mars Northern Autumn Equinox (May 23, 2018) and its Northern Winter Solstice (October 17, 2018), so that the Southern Polar Region (SPR) will be visible from Earth and become more and more prominent. This will occur when Mars is very south at -25 to -26 deg of Declination.

This perihelic apparition will give a considerably favorable opportunity to send spacecraft to Mars. European Space Agency plans to send its ExoMars 2018 mission, which is scheduled for lauch in about May 2018, and to deliver ESA's ExoMars Rover which is to investigate samples on Mars' surface. Nasa plans to launch its InSight Mars lander, a stationary lander equipped with instruments for sub-surface geophysical studies, around May 5, 2018.

.. more to come soon ..

Chronology of the 2018 Mars Apparition

Jul 26, 2017
Mars in conjunction with the Sun from Earth, in Cancer. Earth in superior conjunction with the Sun as seen from Mars. Distance 397 million km (2.6554 AU), apparent diameter 3.527", brightness +1.78 mag. This conjunction, which also ends the 2016 apparition of Mars, starts the 2018 apparition of Mars.
Sep 18, 2017
Moon occults Mars
Oct 7, 2017
Mars in Aphelion (1.66609 AU, 249.2 million km).
Nov 20, 2017
Northern Summer, Southern Winter Solstice on Mars.
May, 2018
ExoMars 2018 launch scheduled.
May 5, 2018
InSight launch scheduled.
May 23, 2018
Northern Autumn, Southern Spring Equinox on Mars.
Jul 4, 2018
Moon occults Mars
Jul 27, 2018
Mars opposition on Earth, Earth in inferior conjunction on Mars. Apparent brightness of Mars reaches -2.78 mag in constellation Capricornus.
Jul 31, 2018
Closest approach of Mars and Earth (0.38496 AU = 57.59 million km). Apparent diameter of Mars is 24.31".
Sep 16, 2018
Mars in Perihelion (1.38144 AU, 206.6 million km).
Oct 17, 2018
Northern Winter, Southern Summer Solstice on Mars.
Nov 16, 2018
Moon occults Mars
Mar 24, 2019
Northern Spring, Southern Autumn Equinox on Mars.
Aug 26, 2019
Mars in Aphelion (1.66606 AU, 249.2 million km).
Sep 2, 2019
Mars in conjunction with the Sun from Earth, in Leo. Earth in superior conjunction with the Sun as seen from Mars. Distance 400 million km (2.6746 AU), apparent diameter 3.501", brightness +1.74 mag. This conjunction ends the 2018 apparition of Mars. It also starts the 2020 apparition of Mars.


Mars Oppositions | < 2016 | 2020 >

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Last Modification: March 9, 2016