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Last night I randomly woke at 3:15 and when ever I get up in the night i can't help but have a quick peek at the stars as the street lights are still off.

I noticed Mars in the south but more bright than I've ever seen it, it really stood out.  I'm wondering if this extra bright appearance might have anything to do with the colossal dust storm playing out at the moment and the particulate reflecting more light in the atmosphere?

Any thoughts.

Campbell

 

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I too noticed how bright it was on Tuesday morning. Don't know if it has anything to do with the latest weather theremail, but am a bit doubtful of a connection. 

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It was really bright (approx mag. -1.6) this morning [0250BST] when I left for work. Just above the roof of the properties over the road and still low. 

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The upcoming opposition of Mars in July is quite favourable, as the distance between the planet and Earth is 'only' 56 million kilometres. This is primarily due to the eccentricity of the orbit of Mars. So this year, Mars is brighter at opposition (mag -2.57) than it was last oppositions (May 2016, mag -1.84, April 2014, mag -1.26). I suppose this is the reason why Mars is already so bright right now. I don't think the dust storm has that much influence on albedo, but I'm not sure either.

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On 15/06/2018 at 04:41, Waddensky said:

The upcoming opposition of Mars in July is quite favourable, as the distance between the planet and Earth is 'only' 56 million kilometres. This is primarily due to the eccentricity of the orbit of Mars. So this year, Mars is brighter at opposition (mag -2.57) than it was last oppositions (May 2016, mag -1.84, April 2014, mag -1.26). I suppose this is the reason why Mars is already so bright right now. I don't think the dust storm has that much influence on albedo, but I'm not sure either.

Indeed, during its late July opposition this year, Mars will be nearly as close and bright as in 2003. These perihelic oppositions occur in intervals of 15 or 17 years. They present the few occurrences in which Mars can briefly appear slightly brighter than Jupiter. I agree that this would have far more to do with its apparent brightness than a dust storm.

Mars-Mag.thumb.JPG.440c63332e53ed2cbccb9fb32f6a286b.JPG

Edited by CentaurZ
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The reason mars is much brighter is because of the huge dust storm on the planet that started a few days ago . If you keep up with www.spaceweather.com you can get updates . One of the rovers has shut down due to the storm nut the other has been able to send a new recent image showing the dust . Check it out !! 

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I would agree with earlier posters, I doubt the dust storm has any significant impact on the current brightness of Mars. The positioning and approaching opposition are the dominant factors.

I do hope there is not a global storm as it will spoil the chances of getting great views of the surface.

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Mars will be exceptionally bright for sure at this perihelic opposition, especially to these unfamiliar with it. However, the magnitude is not affected by dust. What may be affected however is the naked eye colour which becomes more yellowish. This effect was seen in 1909, 1924, 1956, 1971, 1973 and 2001 and 2007.

There are some notes for observing Mars in 2018 on the BAA website. And the latest images and info on the progress of the dust storm can be seen here.

Edited by JeremyS
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