Mars Was So Bright Over the Skies of Maine That I Took a Picture With My Phone
I have always been in awe of outer space ever since I was a kid. It's the unknown about our universe that just makes my head spin with wonder.
I was fascinated to watch live on YouTube as NASA's Artemis I approached the moon and spun back around to view Earth as a small blue dot. Seeing the Earth from 239,000 miles away shows the nearly incomprehensible size of our solar system.
Three days before Artemis I returned to Earth, another interesting space phenomenon happen when the planet Mars was the closest it came to Earth in 2022, just a mere 50.6 million miles away.
That sounds like a lot of distance, and it is, but it also stood out against the rest of the stars in the sky with a clear, red hue. I happened to look up at the sky when I got home late on Tuesday and had to grab my phone to use the SkyView app to confirm what I was looking at was indeed Mars.
That bright dot in the center of the photo is indeed Mars. The red hue didn't come out well in the photo, but the size of the planet and its brightness compared to the rest of the night sky sure did.
My Google Pixel camera has a night mode where it has a longer exposure and had taken some amazing pictures in the dark. It did get just a hint of red in the closest photo I got.
If you get a clear night away from street lights, go outside and catch a glimpse of Mars at nearly the brightest that we see it. It's quickly becoming dimmer as it moves away from Earth. If you miss it though, you aren't totally out of luck. It will next come its closest to Earth in January 2025.