While sky watchers can easily enjoy a bright view of Mars this summer, there are also fascinating developments under its dusty surface.
Mars will be only 35.8 million miles from Earth on Monday, which is closest to our two planets since 1963.
The close approach means it's getting bigger and brighter in the sky every night than usual.
As long as it is not cloudy, the best views of Mars are after 10 or 10:30 pm as he climbs into the southeastern sky, according to Justin Bartel, a keen Experience Manager at the Science Museum of Virginia.
"The big Internet rumor is that it would appear as big as the moon in the sky, which of course" It will never happen, "said Bartel.
It's not a moon, but Mars will be the most prominent planet Visible to the naked eye when our brighter neighbor Venus sinks earlier in the evening.
Unlike a solar eclipse or a meteor shower, it is not a show that requires much effort or concentration to be appreciated. [1
As summer turns autumn, Mars becomes darker and farther as the earth races faster around the sun.
The "Biggest in Years" headlines are basically splitting hair when it comes to what you would see of your garden.
Mars is usually as good of a sight every 26 months when it is in opposition, that is for now it is rising if the sun goes down and vice versa.
Far out of range of telescopes, a ground radar on the European Mars Express satellite found strong evidence of liquid water beneath the surface of Mars for the first time.
Last week, European researchers announced the discovery of the 12-mile wide salty lake about 1 mile below the dust and ice of its South Pole.
Mars has frozen water in icecaps, but dissolved salt and pressure from above probably hold at least some of them in liquid form.
It's tantalizing news, but it would take a lot more research to know if this water supports life.
A NASA spacecraft called InSight is expected to arrive on the surface of Mars on Nov. 11. 26.
Although it will not land above the cold, buried lake, it will have some tools to help the scientists doing the better understand the planet's underground conditions.
Placing the planets in indigenous perspective [1945901
To make the planetary positions more manageable, we can imagine a Richmond-centric model.
When a typical globe stands on a desk in downtown Richmond Times-Dispatch's Earth size, the sun would be a brilliant 117-foot-diameter orb that spans across Byrd Park, about half of the Carillon Tower.
The concentric orbits of the rocky inner planets fit mainly in the city of Richmond, while the larger gas giants such as Jupiter continue to circling to central and eastern Virginia.
Mars would be 6.8 inches tall, like a rust-colored melon.
If we position Mars as it would be on the 31st of July, it would still be further from the Sun, but only a few feet from Earth.
Just 1.5 km from the desktop sphere of downtown, our miniature Mars is located near the east side of Leigh Street Viaduct
Earth and Mars are at their greatest separation, as they will be in late August 2019, then the distance would be up to 6.35 miles on the scale model.
With the sun still at Byrd Park, we would find Earth near Virginia Union University and Mars well across the James River to Chippenham Hospital
The next time the Earth is orbited in October 2020, Mars will be the two planets are not that close.
This is because both lanes are slightly inclined and elliptical, not perfect circles the same plane.
On our small model we would add the distance of a football field to the approach in 2020 compared to 2018.
It takes nearly twice as long for Mars to orbit the Sun The closest approach would be to find our model planets in different neighborhoods as before.