Griffith Observatory to Host Mars Close Approach Viewing

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The Griffith Observatory will hold a public viewing event tonight as the Earth experiences a close encounter with Mars.

Tonight into Tuesday morning, Earth and Mars will be 35.8 million miles from each other, the closest they have been since a 34.6-million-mile approach in August 2003, according to the observatory. The moment of closest approach will be 12:45 a.m. Tuesday.

According to observatory officials, at the moment of closest approach, Mars will be at its very best position for viewing through a telescope from Los Angeles as it crosses the meridian and appears highest in the southern sky. Another close approach won't happen until Sept. 11, 2035, when Mars will be 35.4 million miles away.

The observatory's free viewing event will begin at 10 p.m. today and last until 2 a.m. Tuesday.

Telescopes staffed by employees and local volunteers will provide visitors viewing opportunities of the Red Planet. The observatory building will be closed during the event, but exterior restrooms will be available.

Photo: Getty Images

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