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Mars 2020

During this apparition, Mars will come into Opposition on October 13, 2020 in the constellation Pisces, when it will shine at an apparent visual brightness of -2.62 magnitudes. Seven days earlier, on October 6, 2020, it will have had its closest approach to Earth during this apparition, with a distance of only 38.78 million miles (62.06 million km = 0.41492 AU). This is a comparatively close encounter, as Mars is not too far from its perihelion, which it had passed on August 2, 2020; therefore, this apparition is also called a perihelic apparition. Opposition occurs only about one month after the Northern Winter, Southern Summer Equinox on Mars, which will have been on September 3, 2020. Therefore, the Southern Polar Region (SPR) will be prominently visible this time. At a declination of +5deg at opposition, Mars will be well visible from most places both on Northern and Southern hemisphere on Earth.

As usual, this opposition will provide another good opportunity to send spacecraft to Mars, favorable as it is a perihelic one: Nasa has announced early plans for an advanced rover mission preliminarily called Mars 2020.

.. more to come soon ..

Chronology of the 2020 Mars Apparition

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, which also ends the 2018 apparition of Mars, starts the 2018 apparition of Mars.
Oct 8, 2019
Northern Summer, Southern Winter Solstice on Mars.
Apr 9, 2020
Northern Autumn, Southern Spring Equinox on Mars.
Aug 2, 2020
Mars in Perihelion (1.38138 AU, 206.6 million km).
Sep 3, 2020
Northern Winter, Southern Summer Equinox on Mars.
Oct 6, 2020
Closest Approach of Mars and Earth (0.41492 AU = 62.06 million km, 38.78 million miles). Apparent diameter of Mars is 22.56".
Oct 13, 2020
Mars Opposition on Earth, Earth inferior conjunction on Mars. Apparent brightness of Mars reaches -2.62 mag in constellation Pisces.
Feb 8, 2021
Northern Spring, Southern Autumn Equinox on Mars.
Jul 12, 2021
Mars in Aphelion (1.66596 AU, 249.2 million km).
Aug 25, 2021
Northern Summer, Southern Winter Solstice on Mars.
Oct 8, 2021
Mars in conjunction with the Sun from Earth, in Virgo. Earth in superior conjunction with the Sun as seen from Mars. Distance 393 million km (2.6286 AU), apparent diameter 3.563", brightness +1.65 mag. This conjunction ends the 2020 apparition of Mars. It also starts the 2022 apparition of Mars.

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Last Modification: March 4, 2013