The surface of Mars, image credit NASA
I’m very happy to be partnering with Skills Development Scotland and the Science Skills Academy to deliver day 2 of the ‘Destination Mars’ three day programme for S1 and S2 pupils in Thurso’s recently built Newton Room (22nd – 24th July).
On day 2 I’ll be exploring Mars impact geology, the solar system, night sky tours and a workshop on optics and spectroscopy.
Full programme details and registration details in the link below:
Today Mars is closer to Earth than it will be for the next 269 years!
The reason for this varying distance is the red planet’s elliptical orbit which alters the distance between the planets each time Earth overtakes Mars. The attached animation below should give you a feel for how this works.
This close proximity means Mars is particularly bright at the moment shining at magnitude -2.8, and will remain so for the next month and a half. In fact Mars is twice as bright as Jupiter at the moment and will be brighter than the gas giant until September 7th.
Weather permitting you can see Mars sitting low in the South after dark, burning like a brilliant red coal. Viewing surface details requires a telescope at a reasonable magnification, currently hampered by the planet wide dust storms raging on the surface of Mars.