How to watch Mars shine super bright when it reaches opposition to Earth Tuesday night

Mars will vivid and delightful within the October 2020 evening sky.


October 2020 is all in regards to the glory of Mars because the glimmering crimson planet places on a present within the evening sky. We handed Mars’ shut strategy to Earth on Oct. 6 and now we will look ahead to Tuesday, Oct. 13, when it will likely be in opposition. 

Recognizing Mars

Mars has a status because the “crimson” planet, however its coloration within the evening sky is a bit more on the Halloween facet of the spectrum. It seems as a vivid orange-red dot to the bare eye, like slightly spot of glittering rust.

Mars’ distinctive coloration is one clue you have discovered it at nighttime. Look to the jap sky to catch it rising at evening. It is a nice time for viewing the planet, partly as a result of recognizing it’s so easy. It must be seen for many of the evening. As NASA says, “Merely go exterior and search for and, relying in your native climate and lighting circumstances, it’s best to have the ability to see Mars.”

Try our list of stargazing apps if you’d like some further assist with finding the planet.

Opposition: Oct. 13

When Mars and the solar line up with Earth within the center, the crimson planet is claimed to be in opposition. It is a good time to trace Mars’ motion throughout the sky. It’ll rise within the east because the solar goes down, transfer throughout the sky after which set within the west because the solar comes up. 

NASA describes opposition as “successfully a ‘full’ Mars.” Tuesday, Oct. 13 is the time to take pleasure in opposition. You will have to attend over two years for it to occur once more. 

The Digital Telescope Undertaking, which brings us reside feeds of celestial occasions, will stream a Mars opposition viewing beginning at 1 p.m. PT. on Oct. 13. It is an ideal strategy to benefit from the motion with out climate worries. For individuals within the US, it will provide you with a preview of what to search for after sunset. 

The mission expects this to be “the most effective observing circumstances since July 2018.” 

“The racetrack mannequin of planetary orbits explains why. Earth and Mars are like runners on a monitor. Earth is on the within, Mars is on the skin,” NASA said in its What’s Up blog for October. “Each 26 months, speedy Earth catches as much as slower Mars and laps it. Opposition happens simply as Earth takes the lead.”

Mars is not the one show-off within the sky for October. You can too look forward to a rare Halloween blue moon when our lunar neighbor is full on Oct. 31. It isn’t spooky; it is boo-tiful.

Rewind to the shut strategy on Oct. 6

Tuesday, Oct. 6 marked the shut strategy of Mars to Earth, however this whole month remains to be a great time to seize a telescope and get slightly higher look. Give a wave to NASA’s Perseverance rover when you’re at it. The car is on monitor to achieve the planet in February 2021. 

NASA shared an artist’s view of the Tuesday, Oct. 6 close approach in contrast with the final time it snuggled up in July 2018. The obvious sizes look very comparable. This 12 months, Mars had a minimal distance of 38.6 million miles (62 million kilometers), which is about three million miles farther away than in 2018. 

This artist’s view exhibits the obvious sizes of Mars throughout shut approaches in 2018 and 2020. 


Shut strategy could also be over, however the planet remains to be lots vivid within the evening, so get out and take a gander, or tune into the Digital Telescope Undertaking’s reside feed from the consolation of your laptop. 

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Amanda Kooser