NASA Mars Rover captures incredible selfie as dust storm sweeps Red Planet

GETTYMars opposition occurs every two years but perihelic opposition occurs only every 15 to 17 years

July is set to be a good month for stargazers, as Mars will get closer to Earth than it has been in 15 years, making it appear larger and brighter than usual.

The two planets are at their closest during the rare occasion when they're in "perihelic opposition" with each other, which is when Earth is directly in between Mars and the sun.

Mars will make its closest approach to earth over the last 1.5 decades, which makes it particularly attractive and bright.

While it's going to be approaching for the next few weeks and will provide ample opportunities to stargaze (or technically "planet-gaze"), it's going to be at its very closest during the early morning of July 31, 2018, according to The Weather Channel.

"Mars will easily be visible to the naked eye", Regas promises. "To the naked eye it will look like suspiciously bright, steadily shining orange star", - he said.

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Some perihelic oppositions bring Earth and Mars closer together than others.

"Although Mars is closest to Earth at the end of July, you will be able to spot it every night for several months", he adds.

"Earth makes two trips around the sun in about the same amount of time that Mars takes to make one trip".

While NASA was at pains to explain that it has not discovered life on Mars, the organic molecules could provide vital clues.

The fortunate son " The storm is one of the most intense ever observed on the Red Planet", NASA said in a statement last week.

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In 2003, Mars got as close as 34.9 million miles from Earth, which had not happened for 60,000 years. However, because they both follow elliptical or oval-shaped orbits, the distance always changes from time to time.

The distance between Earth and Mars varies widely every year based on the distance between the other adjacent planets.

Most of the time, the much farther Jupiter outshines Mars due to the giant's sheer size. Also, the orbits of Earth and Mars don't lie in quite the same plane. However, Mars will be in the spotlight for a couple of weeks in July and August.

The rocks are billions of years old, according to NASA.

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