Mars distance (km):
Magnitude: 8.1 Const: Pavo

Encounter with Mars

Comet Siding Spring is on course for an extremely close encounter with the planet Mars, with a small chance that the comet may impact Mars on the 19th of October 2014.

The live data above shows the comet's current distance from Mars, along with a countdown to the event.

Photographing the comet

If you want to photograph comet Siding Spring yourself, you won't need an expensive telescope. It's possible to achieve stunning results with just a regular Digital SLR camera and an easy to build star tracker. A comprehensive guide can be found here.

Andromeda galaxy[Andromeda Galaxy taken with Nikon D7000 and barn door tracker]

View from Earth

The best views of Siding Spring will be from Mars itself, however Siding Spring will also be visible from Earth as it makes its close encounter. The comet should continue to brighten in the coming months, potentially becoming a naked-eye object in late September. On Sunday, October 19th it will be possible to see the comet next to Mars as glides perilously close to the red planet.

Latest image of Siding Spring:

comet siding spring

Hubble image of Siding Spring

March 27th - NASA release Hubble Space Telescope image of Siding Spring. The image shows a bright dust cloud or coma surrounding the comet's icy nucleus. At around 12,000 miles in diameter, the coma is roughly the same size as Earth! The processed image (right) also shows what look to be two main jets of material erupting from the comet as it continues to approach the inner solar system.

hubble image of siding spring