May 31, 2016 03:37 AM EDT

Earth Makes Close Encounter With Mars, Closest Since 2005

By Ron.S

Earth and Mars has a close encounter on Monday, which is the closest since 2005.

The Red Planet's distance from our planet comes down to 47.2 million miles. The cosmic phenomena is aptly named "close approach" by scientists. The two planets comes nearest to one another in their orbits around the Sun, according to the Telegraph.

This close encounter is largely due to the nature of orbits. Cosmic norm is that orbits aren't perfectly circular orbits. This is a direct result from elliptical paths that makes it possible for varying minimum, as well as maximum distances between the planets.

This year, Mars would be brighter in our night's sky from May 18 to June 3, with May 30 marks the "Mars Close Approach," according to NASA. The second smallest planet in our solar system would reach its highest point at midnight, which allows it to be visible for the majority of the night.

Planets' orbit around it parent star is fixed and can be measured quite accurately. A Martian year is 686.93 Earth-days, and to put things into perspective, Neptune's journey around the Sun would be equivalent to 164.79 Earth years. Our planet takes 365.256 days to revolve around the Sun, which explains an extra day during a leap year.

Mars would appear fainter in the following months, particularly by mid-June, as the two planets travel farther from one another in the trajectory around the Sun.

The Close Approach would allow sky-gazers to see the Red Planet as a predominantly red-orange spot in the night sky, even without a telescope. Saturn would also be seen in close proximity with Mars from Earth's perspective.

The last time Mars came close to the Earth was back in 2005, when the distance between the two planets is at 43 million miles apart, according to The New York Times. The closest ever recorded was in 2003, where the Red Planet is only 35 million miles from Earth.

The next "Mars Close Approach" would be on July 31, 2018.

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