Home > Ephemeris Program, Mars, Observing > 05/30/2016 – Ephemeris – Mars is closest to the Earth of this go around today

05/30/2016 – Ephemeris – Mars is closest to the Earth of this go around today

May 30, 2016

Ephemeris for Memorial Day, Monday, May 30th.  Today the Sun will be up for 15 hours and 18 minutes, setting at 9:20, and will rise tomorrow at 6:00.   The Moon, 1 day past last quarter, will rise at 3:21 tomorrow morning.

Mars is the closest it gets to the Earth in this go-around today.  Mars is the next planet out from the Sun.  Earth is number 3 and Mars is number 4.  Mars has a much more eccentric orbit than the Earth and varies from 128 million miles (207 million km) at its closest to the Sun, called perihelion to 155 million miles (249 million km) at aphelion.  So at closest approach of Mars to the Earth the nearest distance can vary by nearly 30 million miles (42 million km).  Mars moves slower in its orbit than does the Earth, taking 687 Earth days to orbit the Sun.  That’s about 1 year, 10 ½ months.  We catch up to Mars every 26 months or so, in a different part of its orbit.  This time it will close to 46.7 million miles (75.2 million km) today.

Times are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Mars finder chart

Mars finder chart for 11 p.m. May 30, 2016. Created using Stellarium.

Mars Closest Approaches

Mars closest approaches from 2003 to 2017. Created by my LookingUp program.

Apparent sizes

Selected Martian Closest Approaches Apparent sizes from 2003 to 2018. Created using Cartes du Ciel (Sky Charts).

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