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Mars at opposition

A planet is at opposition when the Sun and the planet are located at opposite directions as viewed from the Earth. At that time, the planet is best suited for observation for these three reasons:

Only planets beyond the Earth's orbit can be at opposition. Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune can be at opposition. Venus and Mercury orbit between the Sun and the Earth, and therefore they can never be at opposition.

When the planet is at opposition, it rises at sunset og sets at sunrise, just like the full Moon. At high latitudes, oppositions during the winter are better suited for observation than oppositions during the summer. This is because the planet is higher in the sky at oppositions during the winter. Moreover, the sky is not completely dark in the summer at high latitudes.

The following is a graphical representation of Mars at opposition in various years. The yellow central dot is the Sun. The blue dots are the Earth, and the red dots are Mars. Distances are to scale, but sizes of the Sun and the planets are not.

Click here for a smaller version of the picture

Tegning av Mars' og Jordens posisjoner når Mars er i opposisjon

Mars at opposition 1899–2315

Distances are rounded to the nearest 1 000 km. The calculations are approximate.

Mars at opposition Mars closest to Earth
Date AUKilometres Mag Date AUKilometres Mag
1899Jan180.65171597 495 000-1.31899 Jan150.65070297 344 000-1.3
1901Feb220.677492101 351 000-1.21901 Feb230.677406101 338 000-1.2
1903Mar290.64036495 797 000-1.41903 Apr30.63801995 446 000-1.4
1905May80.54239081 140 000-1.91905 May160.53659080 273 000-1.9
1907Jul60.41083361 460 000-2.61907 Jul130.40756960 971 000-2.6
1909Sep240.39181558 615 000-2.81909 Sep180.38947458 264 000-2.8
1911Nov250.51694377 334 000-2.11911 Nov170.51120776 476 000-2.1
1914Jan50.62471693 456 000-1.51914 Jan10.62244293 116 000-1.5
1916Feb100.674904100 964 000-1.21916 Feb90.674847100 956 000-1.2
1918Mar150.66241499 096 000-1.31918 Mar180.66129498 928 000-1.3
1920Apr210.58769187 917 000-1.61920 Apr280.58305287 223 000-1.6
1922Jun100.46170169 069 000-2.31922 Jun180.45593768 207 000-2.3
1924Aug230.37286955 780 000-2.91924 Aug230.37283855 776 000-2.9
1926Nov40.46470769 519 000-2.41926 Oct270.45883468 641 000-2.4
1928Dec210.58879488 082 000-1.71928 Dec150.58497587 511 000-1.7
1931Jan270.66268999 137 000-1.31931 Jan250.66213799 054 000-1.3
1933Mar10.674936100 969 000-1.21933 Mar30.674598100 918 000-1.2
1935Apr60.62418393 376 000-1.51935 Apr120.62100792 901 000-1.5
1937May190.51468476 996 000-2.01937 May280.50852976 075 000-2.0
1939Jul230.38930058 238 000-2.81939 Jul270.38787358 025 000-2.8
1941Oct100.41454362 015 000-2.61941 Oct30.41046261 404 000-2.6
1943Dec50.54462681 475 000-1.91943 Nov280.53945780 702 000-1.9
1946Jan130.64085295 870 000-1.41946 Jan100.63934295 644 000-1.4
1948Feb170.677580101 365 000-1.21948 Feb170.677578101 364 000-1.2
1950Mar230.65144497 455 000-1.31950 Mar270.64970997 195 000-1.3
1952May10.56360884 315 000-1.81952 May80.55822983 510 000-1.8
1954Jun240.43244364 692 000-2.51954 Jul20.42778563 996 000-2.5
1956Sep100.37904756 705 000-2.91956 Sep70.37809056 561 000-2.9
1958Nov160.49371673 859 000-2.21958 Nov80.48771072 960 000-2.2
1960Dec300.60976691 220 000-1.51960 Dec250.60681690 778 000-1.5
1963Feb40.670659100 329 000-1.21963 Feb30.670442100 297 000-1.2
1965Mar90.669194100 110 000-1.31965 Mar120.668473100 002 000-1.3
1967Apr150.60520990 538 000-1.61967 Apr210.60120189 938 000-1.6
1969May310.48571672 662 000-2.21969 Jun90.47954471 739 000-2.2
1971Aug100.37591256 236 000-2.91971 Aug120.37568456 202 000-2.9
1973Oct250.44138566 030 000-2.51973 Oct170.43603865 230 000-2.5
1975Dec150.56996785 266 000-1.81975 Dec90.56548584 595 000-1.8
1978Jan210.65410497 853 000-1.31978 Jan190.65318697 715 000-1.3
1980Feb250.677432101 342 000-1.21980 Feb260.677310101 324 000-1.2
1982Mar310.63759995 383 000-1.41982 Apr50.63510895 011 000-1.4
1984May110.53738080 391 000-1.91984 May190.53145879 505 000-1.9
1986Jul100.40643860 802 000-2.61986 Jul160.40356460 372 000-2.6
1988Sep280.39579559 210 000-2.81988 Sep220.39314158 813 000-2.8
1990Nov270.52255478 173 000-2.01990 Nov200.51692377 331 000-2.0
1993Jan70.62817193 973 000-1.51993 Jan30.62609493 662 000-1.5
1995Feb120.675722101 087 000-1.21995 Feb110.675691101 082 000-1.2
1997Mar170.66061898 827 000-1.31997 Mar200.65937998 642 000-1.3
1999Apr240.58331687 263 000-1.71999 May10.57845286 535 000-1.7
2001Jun130.45582068 190 000-2.42001 Jun210.45016867 344 000-2.4
2003Aug280.37282455 774 000-2.92003 Aug270.37270955 756 000-2.9
2005Nov70.47006870 321 000-2.32005 Oct300.46406669 423 000-2.3
2007Dec240.59299388 711 000-1.62007 Dec190.58934488 165 000-1.6
2010Jan290.66443799 398 000-1.32010 Jan270.66397499 329 000-1.3
2012Mar30.674082100 841 000-1.22012 Mar50.673677100 781 000-1.2
2014Apr80.62087892 882 000-1.52014 Apr140.61755492 385 000-1.5
2016May220.50942176 208 000-2.12016 May300.50321475 280 000-2.1
2018Jul270.38612857 764 000-2.82018 Jul310.38495557 588 000-2.8
2020Oct130.41925262 719 000-2.62020 Oct60.41491562 070 000-2.6
2022Dec80.54951782 207 000-1.92022 Dec10.54447281 452 000-1.9
2025Jan160.64364296 288 000-1.42025 Jan120.64227896 083 000-1.4
2027Feb190.677933101 417 000-1.22027 Feb200.677919101 415 000-1.2
2029Mar250.64911497 106 000-1.32029 Mar290.64721796 822 000-1.3
2031May40.55890683 611 000-1.82031 May120.55335482 781 000-1.8
2033Jun270.42731863 926 000-2.52033 Jul50.42301763 282 000-2.5
2035Sep150.38163757 092 000-2.82035 Sep110.38039956 907 000-2.8
2037Nov190.49954174 730 000-2.22037 Nov110.49358373 839 000-2.2
2040Jan20.61364491 800 000-1.52039 Dec280.61091791 392 000-1.5
2042Feb60.671898100 515 000-1.22042 Feb50.671739100 491 000-1.2
2044Mar110.66790699 917 000-1.32044 Mar140.66708299 794 000-1.3
2046Apr170.60127189 949 000-1.62046 Apr240.59703689 315 000-1.6
2048Jun30.47982071 780 000-2.22048 Jun120.47366370 859 000-2.2
2050Aug140.37414855 972 000-2.92050 Aug150.37404155 956 000-2.9
2052Oct280.44650466 796 000-2.52052 Oct200.44090865 959 000-2.5
2054Dec170.57444485 936 000-1.72054 Dec110.57014785 293 000-1.7
2057Jan240.65631098 183 000-1.32057 Jan210.65551898 064 000-1.3
2059Feb270.676988101 276 000-1.22059 Feb280.676813101 250 000-1.2
2061Apr20.63465394 943 000-1.42061 Apr70.63198294 543 000-1.4
2063May140.53237679 642 000-1.92063 May230.52636778 743 000-1.9
2065Jul130.40214460 160 000-2.72065 Jul190.39958159 776 000-2.7
2067Oct20.39964159 785 000-2.72067 Sep260.39669359 345 000-2.7
2069Nov300.52774078 949 000-2.02069 Nov220.52221178 122 000-2.0
2072Jan110.63130694 442 000-1.42072 Jan60.62938794 155 000-1.4
2074Feb140.676468101 198 000-1.22074 Feb130.676455101 196 000-1.2
2076Mar190.65879798 555 000-1.32076 Mar220.65742398 349 000-1.3
2078Apr270.57894286 609 000-1.72078 May40.57390585 855 000-1.7
2080Jun160.45034267 370 000-2.42080 Jun240.44496766 566 000-2.4
2082Sep10.37380855 921 000-2.92082 Aug300.37355355 883 000-2.9
2084Nov100.47591471 196 000-2.32084 Nov20.46985570 289 000-2.3
2086Dec270.59726989 350 000-1.62086 Dec210.59387088 842 000-1.6
2089Jan310.66614999 654 000-1.32089 Jan300.66577499 598 000-1.3
2091Mar60.673211100 711 000-1.22091 Mar80.672719100 637 000-1.2
2093Apr110.61737692 358 000-1.52093 Apr160.61381091 825 000-1.5
2095May260.50373875 358 000-2.12095 Jun30.49746774 420 000-2.1
2097Jul310.38278657 264 000-2.82097 Aug30.38185657 125 000-2.8
2099Oct180.42389463 414 000-2.62099 Oct100.41921862 714 000-2.6
2101Dec110.55431182 924 000-1.82101 Dec40.54941982 192 000-1.8
2104Jan200.64626396 680 000-1.42104 Jan160.64503696 496 000-1.4
2106Feb220.677918101 415 000-1.22106 Feb230.677882101 410 000-1.2
2108Mar280.64660396 731 000-1.42108 Apr10.64455596 424 000-1.4
2110May70.55416682 902 000-1.82110 May150.54853982 060 000-1.8
2112Jul20.42232763 179 000-2.52112 Jul90.41833962 583 000-2.5
2114Sep200.38434457 497 000-2.82114 Sep160.38283757 272 000-2.8
2116Nov230.50491075 534 000-2.12116 Nov150.49901974 652 000-2.1
2119Jan50.61713592 322 000-1.52118 Dec310.61458191 940 000-1.5
2121Feb90.673074100 690 000-1.22121 Feb80.672958100 673 000-1.2
2123Mar150.66652299 710 000-1.32123 Mar180.66558299 570 000-1.3
2125Apr200.59726589 350 000-1.62125 Apr270.59282288 685 000-1.6
2127Jun80.47429570 954 000-2.22127 Jun160.46830270 057 000-2.2
2129Aug190.37328955 843 000-2.92129 Aug190.37326555 840 000-2.9
2131Nov20.45221367 650 000-2.42131 Oct250.44644966 788 000-2.4
2133Dec210.57916286 641 000-1.72133 Dec150.57508786 032 000-1.7
2136Jan280.65848998 509 000-1.32136 Jan250.65780098 406 000-1.3
2138Mar20.676551101 211 000-1.22138 Mar30.676319101 176 000-1.2
2140Apr50.63165694 494 000-1.42140 Apr100.62879694 067 000-1.4
2142May180.52695778 832 000-2.02142 May260.52087577 922 000-2.0
2144Jul180.39764759 487 000-2.72144 Jul240.39535959 145 000-2.7
2146Oct70.40353960 369 000-2.72146 Sep300.40020559 870 000-2.7
2148Dec30.53276779 701 000-2.02148 Nov260.52736278 892 000-2.0
2151Jan140.63433394 895 000-1.42151 Jan100.63256694 631 000-1.4
2153Feb170.676915101 265 000-1.22153 Feb160.676913101 265 000-1.2
2155Mar230.65666098 235 000-1.32155 Mar270.65515398 010 000-1.3
2157Apr300.57450185 944 000-1.72157 May70.56935085 174 000-1.7
2159Jun210.44504366 577 000-2.42159 Jun300.43990365 809 000-2.4
2161Sep60.37498556 097 000-2.92161 Sep40.37457856 036 000-2.9
2163Nov150.48138772 014 000-2.32163 Nov60.47536571 114 000-2.3
2165Dec300.60117989 935 000-1.62165 Dec240.59792289 448 000-1.6
2168Feb40.66774799 893 000-1.32168 Feb30.66742399 845 000-1.3
2170Mar90.672277100 571 000-1.22170 Mar120.671703100 485 000-1.2
2172Apr140.61381891 826 000-1.52172 Apr200.61007791 266 000-1.5
2174May300.49826174 539 000-2.12174 Jun70.49209273 616 000-2.1
2176Aug50.38024456 884 000-2.82176 Aug80.37960256 788 000-2.8
2178Oct220.42926664 217 000-2.62178 Oct140.42426563 469 000-2.6
2180Dec140.55941483 687 000-1.82180 Dec70.55470582 983 000-1.8
2183Jan220.64892797 078 000-1.42183 Jan190.64782196 913 000-1.4
2185Feb240.677927101 416 000-1.22185 Feb250.677867101 407 000-1.2
2187Mar310.64403996 347 000-1.42187 Apr50.64183896 018 000-1.4
2189May100.54907882 141 000-1.92189 May180.54333481 282 000-1.9
2191Jul60.41709662 397 000-2.62191 Jul140.41331561 831 000-2.6
2193Sep240.38703757 900 000-2.82193 Sep190.38521357 627 000-2.8
2195Nov260.51010676 311 000-2.12195 Nov180.50432675 446 000-2.1
2198Jan70.62058492 838 000-1.52198 Jan30.61816592 476 000-1.5
2200Feb120.674001100 829 000-1.22200 Feb110.673917100 817 000-1.2
2202Mar180.66480399 453 000-1.32202 Mar210.66376499 298 000-1.3
2204Apr240.59318388 739 000-1.62204 Apr300.58865288 061 000-1.6
2206Jun120.46887570 143 000-2.32206 Jun200.46305169 271 000-2.3
2208Aug240.37278455 768 000-2.92208 Aug240.37278455 768 000-2.9
2210Nov60.45765568 464 000-2.42210 Oct290.45181167 590 000-2.4
2212Dec240.58346387 285 000-1.72212 Dec180.57949886 692 000-1.7
2215Jan310.66050598 810 000-1.32215 Jan280.65987398 716 000-1.3
2217Mar50.676056101 137 000-1.22217 Mar60.675776101 095 000-1.2
2219Apr90.62852894 026 000-1.42219 Apr150.62551093 575 000-1.4
2221May220.52165278 038 000-2.02221 May300.51557377 129 000-2.0
2223Jul240.39376358 906 000-2.72223 Jul290.39185158 620 000-2.7
2225Oct110.40818361 063 000-2.72225 Oct50.40444160 504 000-2.7
2227Dec80.53820480 514 000-1.92227 Dec10.53295679 729 000-1.9
2230Jan170.63748795 367 000-1.42230 Jan130.63584795 121 000-1.4
2232Feb210.677388101 336 000-1.22232 Feb210.677388101 336 000-1.2
2234Mar260.65454997 919 000-1.32234 Mar300.65293597 678 000-1.3
2236May30.56982085 244 000-1.72236 May110.56457784 460 000-1.7
2238Jun260.43940365 734 000-2.42238 Jul40.43439064 984 000-2.4
2240Sep110.37617056 274 000-2.92240 Sep80.37558356 186 000-2.9
2242Nov180.48664372 801 000-2.22242 Nov100.48064471 903 000-2.2
2245Jan20.60500790 508 000-1.62244 Dec280.60186690 038 000-1.6
2247Feb70.669161100 105 000-1.32247 Feb60.668886100 064 000-1.3
2249Mar120.670981100 377 000-1.22249 Mar150.670341100 282 000-1.2
2251Apr180.61009791 269 000-1.52251 Apr240.60625990 695 000-1.5
2253Jun20.49290773 738 000-2.12253 Jun110.48679072 823 000-2.1
2255Aug110.37806156 557 000-2.82255 Aug130.37764156 494 000-2.8
2257Oct260.43443264 990 000-2.52257 Oct190.42924764 214 000-2.5
2259Dec180.56413184 393 000-1.82259 Dec110.55951983 703 000-1.8
2262Jan250.65136497 443 000-1.32262 Jan220.65032297 287 000-1.3
2264Feb280.677892101 411 000-1.22264 Feb290.677810101 399 000-1.2
2266Apr30.64139195 951 000-1.42266 Apr80.63906895 603 000-1.4
2268May130.54403481 386 000-1.92268 May210.53827280 524 000-1.9
2270Jul110.41227161 675 000-2.62270 Jul180.40886661 166 000-2.6
2272Sep290.39057758 429 000-2.82272 Sep230.38834658 096 000-2.8
2274Nov300.51573677 153 000-2.12274 Nov220.51002076 298 000-2.1
2277Jan110.62418593 377 000-1.52277 Jan60.62190293 035 000-1.5
2279Feb150.674972100 974 000-1.22279 Feb140.674911100 965 000-1.2
2281Mar200.66313299 203 000-1.32281 Mar230.66202299 037 000-1.3
2283Apr270.58896088 107 000-1.62283 May40.58431687 412 000-1.6
2285Jun150.46316969 289 000-2.32285 Jun240.45732968 415 000-2.3
2287Aug290.37225755 689 000-2.92287 Aug280.37224255 687 000-2.9
2289Nov90.46283169 239 000-2.42289 Nov10.45694968 359 000-2.4
2291Dec270.58771987 921 000-1.72291 Dec210.58386187 344 000-1.7
2294Feb20.66239599 093 000-1.32294 Jan300.66182899 008 000-1.3
2296Mar70.675240101 014 000-1.22296 Mar80.674913100 966 000-1.2
2298Apr110.62523693 534 000-1.52298 Apr170.62212493 068 000-1.5
2300May250.51644777 259 000-2.02300 Jun30.51038676 353 000-2.0
2302Jul290.39016358 368 000-2.82302 Aug20.38864158 140 000-2.8
2304Oct160.41284761 761 000-2.72304 Oct90.40879261 154 000-2.7
2306Dec110.54323781 267 000-1.92306 Dec40.53802580 487 000-1.9
2309Jan200.64030595 788 000-1.42309 Jan160.63874895 555 000-1.4
2311Feb240.677832101 402 000-1.22311 Feb240.677831101 402 000-1.2
2313Mar290.65235597 591 000-1.32313 Apr20.65065097 336 000-1.3
2315May80.56512584 541 000-1.82315 May150.55980283 745 000-1.8

Explanations

Idea for the diagram

Sources

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