This month, Mars will be coming closer to Earth than it has in the past 15 years, causing the planet to be brighter and more visible than it has since 2003. Mars will be easily visible throughout the month of July, and will appear brighter and larger than normal from July 27 until July 30, according to NASA.
It will be at its brightest the morning of July 31st when it is 36 million miles from Earth. This is a stark contrast compared to the average 140-million-mile distance between Mars and Earth.
The red planet traveling closer is due to a phenomenon known as perihelic opposition, when the orbits of Earth and Mars align and gravitate closer together. This phenomenon occurs once every 15-to-17 years.
In 2003, Mars was closer to Earth than it had been in 60,000 years, with a distance of about 34.65 million miles between the two planets.
Mars will continue to shine brightly throughout the month of August, but the next time Mars will come this close to Earth again is predicted to be in September of 2035.