Keep an Eye Out for Mars in Late July!

Summer is the perfect time to do some astronomy with the kids, right?!

This summer, Mars will become brighter and brighter in the predawn sky. In late July 2018, around the time Earth sweeps between Mars and the sun, Mars will outshine Jupiter by some 1.8 times.  Mars will appear brightest from July 27 to July 30.

It will appear 1/3 of the way up from the horizon to straight overhead and will be visible much of the night.

MarsInTheNightSky_July2018illustration from NASA/JPL-CalTech

We say it will appear to be close, but as NASA points out, the minimum distance from the Earth to Mars is about 33.9 million miles (54.6 million kilometers)!

Here is an illustration from NASA/JPL-CalTech of the orbits of the Earth and Mars around the sun during it’s close approach this summer (2018).

Mars Summer 2018 - orbitYou can read more about Mars’s close approach to Earth at


Free Astronomy Resources:

If you are interested in doing more with your kids about astronomy summer, you might be interested in some of our free resources:

Free Constellation Worksheets  — These are included in the packet I made last year about the Solar Eclipse.

Free Constellation Worksheetsperseid meteor showers

Don’t forget you can get our Planets of the Solar System pages free over at this post:

Free Planets of the Solar System Worksheets

Free Astronomy Worksheet Packet Middle School

Astronomy worksheets for middle schoolA couple of other great resources (not on the blog):

Free Printable Star Charts to help you identify stars and constellations from anywhere in the world

Constellation Legends These are always fun to share with the kids! And more quick legends about the constellations here.

Mr. Hill’s Science – Phases of the Moon Packet

Phases of the Moon Flip Book by the Lunar and Planetary Institute

Other science units you might be interested in:

Earth Science Unit

Earth Science Worksheet Packet-50pages - Homeschool Unit

STEM: Electricity and Circuits Unit (30 pages)

Electricity and Circuits Worksheets and Activities

Physical and Chemical Properties of Matter (45 pages)

Physical and Chemical Properties of Matter Worksheets

Biology Packet (70+ pages)

Biology Unit - biomes biological interactions

Ocean Packet (65+ pages)

Ocean Unit Middle School

A Study of Cells (35 pages)

Animal and Plant Cell Worksheets

Circulatory Packet (40 pages)

Circulatory System Worksheets and ActivitiesChemistry Packet

Chemistry Packet

See you again soon here or over at our Homeschool Den Facebook Page! Don’t forget to Subscribe to our Homeschool Den Newsletter. You might also want to check out some of our resources pages above (such as our Science, Language Arts, or History Units Resource Pages) which have links to dozens of posts.  You might want to join our free Homeschool Den Chat Facebook group.  Don’t forget to check out Our Store as well. :) ~Liesl

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