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OPPOSITIONS OF MARS

 

The Martian Seasons

Mars Oppositions (Aphelic and Perihelic)

Mars has a 15.8-year periodic opposition cycle consisting of three or four aphelic oppositions and three consecutive perihelic oppositions. The synodic period of Mars is approximately 780 days (~2 years and 2 months) between oppositions of Mars. Perihelic (within 60 degrees of perihelion (Ls 2500)) oppositions of the planet Mars may approach the Earth to within 34.7 million miles (55.8 million km) and sustain a maximum apparent diameter of 25.11 arc-seconds. The southern hemisphere of Mars is typically visible from the Earth during perihelic oppositions. Aphelic oppositions (within 600 of aphelion (Ls 700) are typically over 62 million miles (100 million km) and the northern hemisphere of Mars is usually visible.

Oppositions of Mars

 

Oppositions of Mars (2022-2035)

The next thirteen years the planet Mars will present seven oppositions for the Mars observer and imager. Between the years 2022 and 2035 we will experience two perihelic oppositions. The first perihelic opposition occurring on June 27, 2033 (0121 UTC) at 39.4 million miles / 63.5 million kilometers (Ls 190.7 degrees, Declination (Dec.) -27.8 degrees) and attaining an apparent diameter of 21.8 arcseconds. Closest approach July 5th, 2033 (1119 UTC) with an apparent diameter of 22.1 arcseconds) in the constellation of Sagittarius the Archer. The second perihelic opposition occurs on September 15th, 2035 (1953 UTC) at 35.4 million miles/57.0 million kilometers (Ls 267.3 degrees, Dec. -0.0) attaining an apparent diameter of 24.5 arcseconds (closest approach on September 11th 2035 1421 UTC with an apparent diameter of 24.6 arcseconds in the constellation of Aquarius the water bearer.

Two intermediate oppositions will occur on December 8th, 2022 (0556 UTC) at 50.6 million miles/ 81.7 million kilometers (Ls 350.80, Declination +25.00) attaining an apparent diameter of 17.0 arcseconds (closest approach on December 1st, 2022, with an apparent diameter of 17.2 arc seconds in the constellation of Taurus the bull. the second intermediate opposition occurs on May 4th, 2031 (1157 UTC) at 51.5 million miles / 83.0 million kilometers (Ls 138.40, Declination -15.50) attaining an apparent diameter of 16.7 arcseconds (closest approach occurs on May 12, 2031, with an apparent diameter of 16.9 arcseconds in the constellation of Libra the scales. 

    Three aphelic oppositions occur on January 16, 2025, 252 UTC at distance of 59.7 million miles / 96.3 million kilometers (Ls 039.90. Declination +25.10) attaining an apparent diameter of 14.6 arcseconds (closest approach on June 12, 2025, attaining an apparent diameter 14.6 arcseconds in the constellation of Gemini the twins. A second aphelic opposition occurs on February 19, 2027 (1545 UTC) at 63.0 million miles / 101.7 million kilometers (Ls 065.40. Dec. +15.40) attaining an apparent diameter of 13.8 arcseconds (closest broach on February 20, 2027, attaining an apparent diameter of 13.8 arc seconds in the constellation of Leo the lion. The third aphelic opposition occurs on March 25, 2029 (0743UTC) at 60.2 million miles 90.7 million kilometers (Ls 99.50, Dec. +1.10) attaining an apparent diameter of 14.4 arcseconds (close this approach on March 29 2029 with an apparent diameter of 14.5 arc seconds in the constellation of Virgo the virgin.

     

    About the author:

    Explore Alliance Ambassador - Carlos Hernandez M.D.Ambassador Carlos Hernandez has contributed his planetary observations to worldwide organizations including The Association of Lunar and Planetary Observers (ALPO, United States), British Astronomical Association (BAA, Great Britain), Oriental Astronomical Association (OAA, Japan), and many other excellent planetary amateur astronomer groups over many decades.