03/28/2014 – Ephemeris – Mars approaches
Ephemeris for Friday, March 28th. The sun will rise at 7:30. It’ll be up for 12 hours and 34 minutes, setting at 8:04. The moon, 2 days before new, will rise at 6:40 tomorrow morning.
The planet Mars is making its every 26 month on average close approach to the Earth. Mars will reach opposition from the sun on April 8th, rising at sunset and setting at sunrise. Due to Mars’ strongly elliptical orbit, it will actually be closest to us 6 days later on April 14th. That distance will be about 57.4 million miles, nearly twice that if its closest distance of 34.6 million miles it came back in 2003. But take heart, the opposition distances are closing. On July 31, 2018 it will again be below 36 million miles away. Even at its closest, Mars is a tiny object for the telescope. It’s half the size of the Earth and at its closest will appear less that half the size that Jupiter appears to us.
Times are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.