A rare astronomical event that takes place about every 26 months is set to happen on Tuesday, April 8th.
Dubbed an “Opposition of Mars”, this spacial phenomenon involves the alignment of Mars with the Earth every 778 days. On this day, Mars, Earth, and the sun form a straight line. Since the Earth is closer than Mars is to the sun, it completes its orbit in just 365 days, compared to Mars’ 687. This fact makes the occurrence of an Opposition rare, which is why it happens only once every couple of years.
Six days after the Opposition, Mars and Earth will have slightly moved along their respective orbits; however, due to the eccentric nature of Mars’ orbit, it will be relatively closer to Earth than it usually is.
Mars,Earth and Sun will align next week pic.twitter.com/JOGKZugwnJ
— Neutrino (@Maged_Kazlak) April 4, 2014
It was German astronomer Johannes Kepler who discovered that some planets have slightly elliptical orbits around the sun. At perihelion, a planet is at its closest point to the sun, while at aphelion, a planet is farthest from the sun. Planets such as Venus and Earth follow circular paths, while others like Mars and Mercury have more elliptical orbits.
Another rare spacial event known as the “Blood Moon” is also due to take place on April 15th. This total lunar eclipse will project the moon as a deep red object that is completely buried in the Earth’s shadow.
The unique appearance of the moon during this event has made the “blood moon” phenomenon quite popular in certain religious faiths. Since the early ages, the “blood moon” has served as a sign of ominous events, like the apocalypse. In Christianity, numerous biblical verses in the Book of Revelations depict the “blood moon” as the onset of the world’s end and the second coming of Jesus Christ.
In Judaism, the “blood moon” coincides with a few major feast days including the Jewish Passover and the Feast of the Tabernacle.
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