Like every one of the planets in our close planetary system, Earth and Mars orbit the sun. Be that as it may, Earth is nearer to the sun, and in this manner races along its orbit all the more rapidly. Earth makes two excursions around the sun in about a similar measure of time that Mars takes to influence one to a trip. So here and there the two planets are on opposite sides of the sun, exceptionally far separated, and different circumstances, Earth catches up with its neighbor and passes relatively close to it.
What is Opposition?
During opposition, Mars and the sun are on straightforwardly inverse sides of Earth. From our point of view on our turning world, Mars ascends in the east similarly as the sun sets in the west. At that point, subsequent to remaining up in the sky the whole night, Mars sets in the west similarly as the sun ascends in the east. Since Mars and the sun show up on inverse sides of the sky, we say that Mars is in “opposition.” If Earth and Mars followed perfectly circular orbits, the opposition would be as close as the two planets could get.
Obviously, nothing about movement in space is very that straightforward! Our orbit is really curved (oval-formed), and we venture out somewhat nearer to the sun toward one side of our orbit than at the other end.
When Can Opposition Occur?
Mars oppositions occur about at regular intervals. Each 15 or 17 years, opposition happens inside half a month of Mars’ perihelion (the point in its orbit when it is nearest to the sun). This year, Mars resistance happens on July 27, 2018.
An opposition can happen anyplace along Mars’ orbit. When it happens while the red planet is nearest to the sun (called “perihelic opposition”), Mars is, especially near Earth. On the off chance that Earth and Mars both had a splendidly stable orbit, at that point each perihelic opposition would bring the two planets as close as they could be. That is nearly the way it is.
Be that as it may, by and by, nature tosses in a couple of confusions. Gravitational pulling by alternate planets always shows signs of changing the state of our orbit a tad. Gaint Jupiter particularly impacts the orbit of Mars. Additionally, the circles of Earth and Mars don’t lie in an incredible same plane. The ways the planets take around the sun are somewhat tilted regarding each other.
In this way, with all these additional variables, some perihelic oppositions unite us than others. The 2003 opposition was the nearest approach in very nearly 60,000 years!
Mars’ orbit is more curved than Earth’s, so the distinction amongst perihelion and aphelion is more prominent. Over the previous hundreds of years, Mars’ orbit has been getting increasingly lengthened, conveying the planet much closer to the sun at perihelion and considerably more distant away at aphelion. So future perihelic opposition will bring Earth and Mars significantly nearer. Yet, regardless we’ll have gloating rights for a moment. Our 2003 record will remain until August 28, 2287!
Further reading on NASA— Mars In Our Night Sky.