What’s the best time to view Mars from the Northern Hemisphere?

When is it best to observe the Red Planet from Earth?


Asked by Keith Johnson

The best time to view planets from anywhere on Earth changes as it depends not only on where the Earth is around the Sun, but also on where the planet is relative to Earth. For 2013, the first time to view Mars from the Northern Hemisphere will be in summer. From about mid-way through July 2013, Mars will begin to rise in the East just before the Sun does in the mornings, and it won’t be alone – Jupiter will be nearby and very bright, and once it becomes August it may even be possible to catch a glimpse of Mercury low on the Eastern horizon as well. This will all happen extremely early in the morning (about 4am) but will be well worth waking up for! Mercury will head back towards the Sun from August but Mars and Jupiter will be joined by the crescent Moon on the first day of September. Mars will continue to be visible later on in the mornings right through the winter and into 2014.

Answered by Megan Whewell from the National Space Centre

Image courtesy of ESA/OSIRIS Team

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