Mars Now Visible; No Telescope Needed

Mars Now Visible; No Telescope Needed

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Samantha Hayes reportingThe planet Mars is so close to Earth that you can see it with the naked eye.

Earth and Mars coming together has been the subject of sci-fi movies through the years.

Mars has attacked, it has invaded, it has scared the heck out of us.

And now, it's closer then we've ever known it to be before-- 34.6 million miles away.

Seth Jarvis Clark Planetarium: "That may seem like a long way, but it is a lot closer by many millions of miles than a normal Earth-Mars passage."

Think of Earth and Mars like two cars on a race track. Earth has the inside lane, Mars the outside. Earth is going faster so it catches up with, and passes Mars.

Seth Jarvis: "If you ever want to see Mars and appreciate the world where astronauts from Earth will next set foot, no question about that-- now is the time to start looking at it."

"Mars Parties", as they are being called, are going on all over the world. In Utah the observatory in Stansbury Park is a popular spot.

Eric Nielsen, Amateur Astronomer: "Sixty-thousand years ago it was this close. My relatives were hunting and gathering at that point. So we thought we'd come out and check it out while we can."

Labor Day weekend, you can view the Red Planet from one of the most Mars-like environments on Earth-- Hanksville, Utah.

Patrick Wiggins, NASA Solar System Ambassador to Utah: "It's things like this and eclipses. This is a really great year for getting people into astronomy."

You don't even need a telescope right now to see Mars. Just go outside, take a look up. It's the brightest thing in the nighttime sky, other than the moon.

"Even from downtown light-polluted Salt Lake City, you can still see it through the light pollution."

Mars is invading, but this time the close up looks quite a bit different.

And just like generations before, gazing into the heavens, is bound to make Space for everyone.

Victoria Konzel, 6th grade: "I think it would be really cool if I could go into space."

If you miss it, you won't have to wait 60,000 more years for another chance. Instead, mark your calenders for August 28th, 2287.

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