Get ready to see the Red Planet up close this summer: When Mars reaches opposition with the sun, observers on Earth will have their closest view of the planet since 2003. By June 26, Mars will be just 44 million miles away, and from the perspective of skywatchers on Earth, it will appear five times brighter than usual. By the time the Red Planet reaches its closest point to Earth, it will be a mere 35.8 million miles away and will have nearly doubled in brightness since June 26.
Because Mars will be in position for viewing on Saturday, July 21, the OMSI and Rose City Astronomers have organized free Star Parties at Rooster Rock State Park and Stub Stewart State Park starting at 9:00 pm. From beginners to experts of all ages, here's your opportunity to view the moon, stars and other celestial objects up close and personal through telescopes. For Mars, best viewing will be after 11:30 pm when it will clear the SE horizon. Other viewing highlights include waxing gibbous moon, Venus, Jupiter, Saturn and more!
On the scheduled day of each OMSI Star Parties, it is suggested that interested visitors check back here for possible weather-related cancellations.
Warm clothing and a flashlight with red light are recommended. Personal telescopes and binoculars are welcome.
Rooster Rock State Park | Take I-84 east of the Sandy River at exit 25. The park is located 22 miles east of Portland.
L.L. "Stub" Stewart State Park | Take US-26 west of Portland and turn right on OR-47. The park is located 34 miles west of Portland.