NASA found out that the skies over Mars put up quite a show for at least half of the planet, but it's a show very hard to observe.
On Earth, the Northern and Southern lights occur when the solar wind (electrically charged particles from the Sun) follow our planet's geomagnetic field lines to the poles and collide with the upper atmosphere.
The Mars opposition falls just before the longest total lunar eclipse of the century, which will last 1 hour and 43 minutes.
Mars will shine bright and look bigger between now and Tuesday. Astronomers say the planet will continue to cast its bright glow into the beginning weeks of August but will fade by mid-August.
Every six to eight years, massive dust storms can envelop Mars's whole surface.
This and the 60,000-year gap statement are true, according to the agency, but they represent "a bit of hype" as Mars and Earth have been nearly this close many times in recent history. First, a solar wind proton approaches Mars at high speed and encounters a cloud of hydrogen surrounding the planet.
For Powell River residents seeking to view the planet from the comfort of their own homes, there is no need to go to a particularly dark place or use a telescope to see it. Mars will appear on the horizon at around 9:30 pm each evening, starting in the southeast at the bottom right in relation to the moon, and rise throughout the night.
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It's an exciting few days for space watchers as Mars will be coming the closest it's been to Earth for 15 years.
The next Mars close approach is on 6 October 2020 when the planet will be 38.6 million miles away.
"The Martian proton auroras are more than a light show", said Dr. Jasper Halekas, from the University of Iowa.
When Mars and Earth are close to each other, Mars appears very bright in the sky.
'Not quite as bright as Venus, but still because of the reddish, orange-ish-red colour, you really can't miss it in the sky'. On Mars, they can happen anywhere, and in large areas, said NASA. The best viewing of the planet will coincide with the lunar eclipse on Friday, July 27.
Looking further, it's likely that many planets orbiting other stars have the same favorable conditions, and would be likely to have proton auroras too. North America is the only continent on Earth from which the eclipse will not be visible.