When and Where to Watch the Mars Opposition 2012 Online

  @JasonLeMiere on March 02 2012 3:04 PM

Mars will be making a close approach to Earth on Saturday and you can watch the amazing sky show live online. The event, known as an opposition, happens one every 26 months when Mars sits on the opposite side of Earth from the Sun.

The opposition itself will occur at 11 p.m. ET, though due to Mars' elliptical path around the sun, the red planet will actually be closest to us on Monday.

However, the best chance to view Mars will be tomorrow night when it will be clearly visible to the naked eye as a red dot in the night sky. Even in the cloudiest of skies, Mars will still be visible, according to Space.com.

The Slooh space camera will be broadcasting a live feed of the this great opportunity to view Mars via their multiple observatories around the world. According to Slooh, their telescopes will make martian features and polar caps visible.

To watch the Slooh Space Camera's live stream, click here.

Mars' orbit means that that its distance from Earth at each opposition varies considerably. Relatively speaking, this particular opposition does not see Mars get that close to Earth. The last great opposition occurred in 2003, when Mars was as close as it had been to Earth in almost 60,000 years. On that occasion the tow planets were only 34.8 million miles apart, according to CBS News.

If you don't get to see it on Saturday night, or even if you did, there will also be a great chance to see it on March 7 when Mars is near the full moon, according to Earthsky.org.

Mars will be visible in the constellation Leo, where it will be the brightest star at the time of the opposition.

The opposition occurs roughly every two years due to Mars' orbit being about twice as long as that of Earth's. Mars is also half the diameter of that of Earth. Though, it has seasons and weather, as well as polar ice caps, Mars' atmosphere is too thin for liquid water to survive for long on the surface, according to NASA.

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