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Mars, Earth- Closest approach on Jan 27

A File Photo.

HYDERABAD (PTI): Mars can be spotted closest, biggest and brightest on January 27 from Earth and the 'Mars Opposition' would be on January 30, an official of Planetary Society of India said here Sunday.

During opposition, Mars and Sun are on directly opposite sides of Earth and Mars will be visible all through the night and it would be brightest beginning from January 27 till the end of March, Planetary Society's general secretary N Raghunandan Kumar said.

"A planet is at opposition when it is directly opposite the Sun from our viewpoint on Earth. On January 30, Sun-Earth-Mars would be in opposition to each other from our perspective and the result is that the object (Mars) will be fully illuminated by the Sun and appears disk-like," Kumar explained.

Mars would be brighter than every star in the sky except the brightest star Sirius, he said adding "it is the perfect opportunity to watch and locate Mars with naked eye."

Mars would appear as warm yellow gold with a hint of red star like object for naked eye. However, if one can see through telescope they can appreciate ice caps in the Northern tip of Mars, he said.

During the oppositions that happen after every 26 months, Mars will be nearer to the Earth than at any other time. The next 'Opposition of Mars' will occur on March 3, 2012.

Similarly, Moon will also look bigger, closest and brightest on January 30, Kumar said.

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