Return to Heritage Home Page Current Image Gallery Archive Information Center Hubble Art Search
Return to Heritage Home Page Current Release Home Page Caption Fast Facts Biographies Supplemental Material Original Images

 

 

Mars Videos and Illustrations

Rotation Video of Mars 2007 Closest Approach Other video formats
Mars Oppositions 1995 - 2007 Other video formats
Mars 2007 plus interview with Keith Noll Other video formats

Every 26 months Mars is opposite the Sun in our nighttime sky. Since 1995, Mars has been at such an "opposition" with the Sun seven times. A color composite from each of the seven Hubble opposition observations has been assembled in this mosaic to showcase the beauty and splendor that is The Red Planet.

This mosaic of all seven globes of Mars shows relative variations in the apparent angular size of Mars over the years. Mars was the closest in 2003 when it came within 35 million miles (56 million kilometers) of Earth. The part of Mars that is tilted towards the Earth also shifts over time, resulting in the changing visibility of the polar caps. Clouds and dust storms, as well as the size of the ice caps, can change the appearance of Mars on time scales of days, weeks, and months. Other features of Mars, such as some of the large dark markings, have remained unchanged for centuries.

This illustration shows the relative positions of Earth and Mars at the last seven Martian oppositions from 1995 through 2007. Opposition occurs when the Sun and Mars are on exact opposite sides of Earth, resulting in a full-phase for Mars, similar to a full moon. The images of Mars show the planet's apparent relative size at each opposition, as viewed by the Earth-orbiting Hubble Space Telescope. Orbits of the inner planets are to scale.

Mars Mosaic and Opposition Illustration by Zolt Levay (STScI)