Mars to slide in close to Earth for rare stargazing opportunity

Posted at 4:00 PM, Jul 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-17 19:00:39-04

Mars will be comin’ in close to Earth, the closest it’s been in 15 years, in about two weeks. 

Earth and Mars will be 35.8 million miles from each other on July 30. The closest the two planets have been was 34.6 million in 2003. 

In honor of the historic moment, Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles will host a public viewing event for free. Weather permitting, the observatory will have telescopes staffed and astronomers available for the big night. 

Mars will inch closer to Earth’s atmosphere between 10 p.m. Monday, July 30, and 1:30 a.m. Tuesday, July 31. The peak moment of closest is at 12:45 p.m. The observatory says the next similar time it will be within the same distance won’t be until Sept. 11, 2035.

The Griffith Observatory is located at 2800 E. Observatory Rd., Los Angeles. People who can’t visit the observatory can also watch the event in a live stream. Find out more about the event here.