July is the month to observe Mars at UW-Stevens Point

For the Metro Wire

Get up close and personal with Mars at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point later this month as the planet is at its shortest distance from Earth.

Join university astronomers at several free telescopic observations and planetarium shows at the Science Building, 2001 Fourth Ave., Stevens Point:

· Monday, July 30, Allen F. Blocher Planetarium

7 p.m. “Mars – the Next Destination for Humans?”

7:30-8:45 p.m. “The Current Night Sky” and “Mars Quest”

· Monday, July 30, and Tuesday, July 31, Arthur J. Pejsa Observatory

9-11 p.m. telescopic observations of Mars, Jupiter a, d Saturn, weather permitting.

Mars will appear brightest in the sky from July 27 to July 30. On July 31, Mars will be at its shortest distance from earth at 35.8 million miles (57.6 million kilometers).

The next time this close distance occurs will be Oct. 6, 2020, when Mars will be 38.6 million miles (62.07 million kilometers) from Earth.

Parking for the Science Building is available in Lots D or E or along the adjacent Stanley St. Learn more about the UW-Stevens Point planetarium and observatory at 715-346-2208 or www.uwsp.edu/physastr/plan_obs/Pages/default.aspx.