MARS Animated Graphic

The animated graphic below shows the orbits of the Earth and Mars as seen from a point in space far above the plane of the ecliptic.  A separate image was created for each of the dates in the table shown on the prior page, when Earth and Mars are closest together.  The eccentric (non-circular) orbits of Mars and the Earth generate the large variations in how large and bright Mars appears during different occultations.  These events occur approximately every 25.7 months.  Watch for the relative positions on 8/27/2003, when Mars was the closest to Earth in at least the past 50,000 years. When seen from above, as in this graphic, all the planets in the Solar System revolve around the Sun in a counter-clockwise direction.



Web hosting generously provided by