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The phenomenon takes place whenever the red planet reaches its position of "opposition", when Earth is between Mars and the sun. Mars will still be visible in the night sky for the next few months.

A very thin atmosphere still exists around the planet, but it's less than one percent as dense as ours on Earth.

An illustration showing Mars and the Moon in "opposition" to Earth.

A map of the sky that shows Mars and Saturn, as they can be seen from NY on July 31 at 11 pm.

Each planet has its own orbit around the sun, and takes a fixed time to complete a revolution around it.

But also, "around the time of opposition, a planet is at its closest distance to Earth for a given year", the USA space agency explained. We should be able to see Mars till September but it will appear smaller each passing day as it leaves the orbit closer to the Earth.

The red planet comes close enough for viewing only once or twice every 15 or 17 years.

The blood moon will be the longest total lunar eclipse of the 21st century and will occur just after 9pm United Kingdom time on Friday July 27.

"This may be responsible for a string of bright clouds visible near the northern polar region that are the remnants of a disintegrating storm", NASA wrote.

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In 2003, Mars and Earth were the closest in almost 60,000 years at 34.6 million miles (55.7 million km) apart.

NASA and its partners are holding a $2.5 million competition to build a 3D printed habitat for deep space exploration, including the agency's journey to Mars.

The Red Planet will be 57.6 million kilometres from our world today, offering the clearest and brightest views since 2003.

This phenomenon is expected to occur next in 2034.

As part of the space agency's $2.5 million Centennial Challenge, teams of designers, engineers, and architects from across the USA submitted designs for an astronaut habitat that could be 3D-printed and deployed to far-flung destinations like the Red Planet or the moon. If you can, try and check our our nighttime neighbor with a telescope.

Astronomers expect good viewing conditions of Mars throughout early August.

"Though all of the gas giants boast rings, Saturn's are the largest and most spectacular, stretching out to eight times the radius of the planet", ESA wrote in a statement.

The Griffith live stream was accompanied by the Observatory's astronomy experts who were on hand to guide the viewers through the event.

This year's Mars comes closer to Earth approach is not a record-breaker. The distance between the Mars and the Earth was 34.6 million miles (55.7 million kilometers).


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