The Biggest, Brightest (And Backwards) Phase Of The Red Planet Begins Today
The fourth planet Mars will quickly shine brighter than the night time sky’s brightest star—Sirius—however throughout its whole “opposition” interval it is going to be doing one thing that’s arduous to understand. It’ll seem to go backwards.
As of as we speak Mars will reverse its obvious west-to-east motion within the night time sky and start transferring from east-to-west in opposition to the background stars.
That is known as “retrograde movement” and it will get astrologers very excited. To be completely clear, the place as we speak of Mars within the constellation of Gemini, may have no have an effect on on anybody’s each day lives. It received’t trigger communication meltdowns in your life. Nor has it bought something to do with anger and arguments you might have or don’t have. How might it?
Astrology apart, Mars in retrograde—which solely happens as soon as each two years or so—is a superb time to view the fourth planet and to understand an intriguing facet of how our photo voltaic system works.
Mars retrograde additionally signifies that one thing spectacular is about to occur. Proper in the midst of its obvious backwards movement within the night time sky the pink planet will come to its biannual “opposition” when, in early December, Mars is at its closest to Earth and subsequently at its greatest and brightest.
As a bonus, it’ll even be doable to see a uncommon “eclipse” of Mars by the Moon.
Right here’s all the things you should learn about Mars in retrograde in 2022—what it’s, why it occurs and the important thing dates you have to be exterior wanting as much as see the the pink planet at its wonderful greatest.
When is Mars retrograde 2022?
From Sunday, October 30, 2022, Mars will seem to maneuver backwards. Throughout that point it’ll wax in direction of it greatest, brightest and greatest, all of the whereas within the constellation of Gemini (although surrounded by the celebs of Taurus, “the bull”).
It’ll proceed to maneuver backwards—from Earth’s viewpoint—till Thursday, January 12, 2023.
Understanding why Mars seems to maneuver backwards
Mars in retrograde is all solely about perspective.
Earth orbits the Solar nearer than the Mars. “Earth is transferring sooner across the Solar—taking 364-and-a-bit days to Mars’ 687 days—so from our viewpoint, as we come around the Solar, Mars is forward of us within the sky,” mentioned Dr. Simon Morden, planetary geologist and writer of a brand new guide The Purple Planet: A Pure Historical past of Mars (discover a assessment right here). “As we catch-up and go previous it, it seems prefer it’s beginning to go backwards.”
It’s moderately like overtaking a dashing automobile. Sitting within the sooner automobile, the slower automobile seems to be transferring backwards although, in fact, it isn’t. It’s useful to take a look at a top-down view of the photo voltaic system, which you’ll discover on The Planets At this time.
“As a result of we then go spherical sooner, Mars will appear like it’s beginning to catch up once more, so it seems prefer it does this little loop within the sky,” mentioned Morden. It’s one thing the entire outer planets seem to do. “Saturn and Jupiter, most notably, all have retrograde movement within the sky, as a result of we meet up with one in every of them, then we match their pace after which we draw back once more.”
“It does get the astrologers all excited, however it’s simply physics.”
Mars at opposition 2022
Mars at all times seems to maneuver backwards across the time of its once-every-26 months “opposition,” which this yr happens on December 7, 2022. It marks the purpose when Earth is between the Solar and Mars, so the planet is absolutely illuminated by the Solar from our viewpoint. It’s consequently at its brightest of the yr, so the perfect time to take a look at it. As a bonus it additionally means it rises within the east at nightfall and stays within the night time sky all night time lengthy.
An eclipse of Mars by the Moon
The Moon occults a planet just a few instances annually, as seen from someplace on Earth. However a full Moon eclipsing Mars near its once-every-26 months brightest? Now that’s a uncommon set of circumstances. That’s precisely what occurs on December 8, 2022. It’s not one thing you wish to miss.
Wishing you clear skies and broad eyes.