This Weekend's Weather: Mars, Bright in the Sky, Oversees Warmer Temperatures and Some Rain (1)

4/11/2014 3:15 PM
Category: Environment

If you are up for a little gazing at the sky this weekend, look east after sunset, you will see a bright red dot that will slowly rise in the sky as midnight approaches. That light isn't a star, but the planet Mars, making its closest approach to the Earth since 2007.

Mars is in what is termed "opposition," which means the Earth and Mars are next to each other in orbit, while the sun is behind the Earth as we view the planet, making the fourth planet seem more brilliant from our point of view. Oppositions happen about every two years, because that is the amount of time it takes our planet to orbit the sun and catch up with Mars' wider orbit.

Mars will be about 92 million kilometers away. That is close in cosmic terms, but not close to a record. In 2003, Mars and the Earth came within 55 million kilometers of each other, a record that won't be beaten until 2287. Even modest backyard telescopes should be able to pick out features on Mars such as the ice on its polar regions.

The red planet is making its closest approach on Monday, which according to the forecast by the Hydrology and Meteorology Institute, might be the best night in the next few days to get a good view. It calls for partly cloudy skies that night with rain showers possible around Estonia, and night-time temperatures around 6 C, 11 in the daytime.

As for the rest of the forecast, some rain is expected this afternoon and evening, spreading eastwards with a high temperature possible of 10 C and southeast winds of 5-12 m/s, and gusts on the coasts up to 15 m/s. Local fog is possible Saturday morning.

Saturday and Saturday night should bring clearing skies with some rain in the eastern regions with a high temperature of 10-11 C, and 3-9 m/s winds out of the southwest, and gusts up to 17 m/s on coastal areas and the islands.

Sunday will have rain in many places with clear spells, with high temperatures around 10 C. Monday will be more rain and slowly decreasing winds, about 3-9 m/s, and air temperature from 11-6 C.


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