On the heels of the longest and most fascinating lunar eclipse of the century comes yet another celestial bonanza that promises to enthrall stargazers in the UAE. Tonight, the red planet Mars will be closest to earth since 2003 and will be visible to the naked eye provided that the dust clouds drift away.
The red planet is expected to be visible in the eastern horizon at around sunset and will subsequently move onto the centre of the sky. The planet will be most conducive to viewing at around midnight. Mars is anticipated to shine brighter than Jupiter and Venus on this special night. The past few weeks have seen mars shine bright in the sky because of a phenomenon known as opposition’ wherein Mars, the Sun and Earth align in a straight line with earth in the middle.
The Thuraya Astronomy Centre in Dubai is offering a chance to stargazers to view the phenomenon from their observatory. Visitors can take in their own telescope or borrow one from the centre at a fairly nominal fee. This event promises to be a rare treat since the next occurrence is projected to take place after 17 years in 2035.