Mars At Closest Point To Earth Since 2005

Mars at closest point to Earth since 2005Mars made its closest approach to Earth in more than a decade on May 31st, Japan Time.
The National Astronomical Observatory of Japan said Mars came within 75 million kilometers of the Earth on Tuesday.
The observatory says even people living in cities can see the red planet with the naked eye for about a week if the weather is good.

Mars makes a close approach to the Earth about every 26 months.

But the distance between the 2 planets is different each time because the Earth's orbit is almost circular while Mars has an elliptical one.

The red planet appears to be about 3 times wider than the smallest size observed earlier this year.

People in Tokyo gathered on the rooftop of a 53-story skyscraper in the downtown Roppongi district to observe the planet on Tuesday night.

They cheered as Mars appeared through a break in the clouds around 7:30 PM. Three telescopes had been set up on the rooftop and about 50 people were waiting to use each one. Others took photos with their smartphones.

In Miyazaki Prefecture, western Japan, Mars became visible shortly after 8:30 PM. About 20 people enjoyed the celestial show at an observatory in Miyakonojo City.