Mars visible the day Perseverance arrives – how to see Mars in the night’s sky

NASA’s Perseverance rover lands on Mars in animation

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In the past week, two probes have arrived at Mars. The UAE’s Hope mission arrived on February 8, while China’s Tianwen-1 reached the orbit of the planet a day later. NASA’s Perseverance will arrive on February 18, and the Red Planet is visible to the naked eye on the day the rover arrives.

How to see Mars on February 18?

Mars will be most visible shortly after sunset on February 18.

For those of us in the UK, that time is 5.40pm GMT.

Wherever you are in the world, simply look south shortly after the sunsets.

When you do, you will spot the Moon, accompanied by a little orange dot.

That orange dot is Mars, and you can look directly at the planet as NASA’s Perseverance arrives.

Obviously, with Mars being more than 200 million kilometres from us, you will not be able to see the NASA machine landing.

However, with Earth speeding away from the Red Planet – due to Earth’s much shorter orbit – Mars will not be visible in a few months.

Osnat Katz, a PhD candidate at the University College London, wrote for the Conversation: “By April Mars will be visible straight above Aldebaran – the brightest star in the constellation Taurus.

“By May, Mars moves into the constellation of Gemini but is unfortunately low in the sky.

“You can see Mars and Venus together in early July, low on the western horizon. But by August, Mars will be difficult – if not impossible – to spot.

“From there it sets too early for us to see in our skies – but don’t worry, it’ll be back and at a close approach to Earth by 2022.”

However, in the UK, a typically cloudy February evening is being forecast for February 18.

The Met Office said: “Unsettled with bands of heavy rain and showers moving on a brisk south-westerly wind.

“Some drier, more settled interludes. Coastal gales in the south and northwest at times.”

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