Mars opposition: How to see the red planet shine extra bright tonight

Mars will brilliant and exquisite within the October 2020 evening sky.


October 2020 is all in regards to the glory of Mars because the glimmering pink planet places on a present within the evening sky. We handed Mars’ shut strategy to Earth on Oct. 6 and now we are able to look ahead to Mars being in opposition Tuesday evening. 

Recognizing Mars

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

Mars’ distinctive coloration is one clue you’ve got discovered it at midnight. 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 ought to be seen for a lot of the evening. As NASA says, “Merely go exterior and lookup and, relying in your native climate and lighting circumstances, it’s best to be capable of 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 pink planet is claimed to be in opposition. It is a excellent time to trace Mars’ motion throughout the sky. It should 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 get pleasure from opposition. You will have to attend over two years for it to occur once more. 

The Digital Telescope Mission, 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 solution to benefit from the motion with out climate worries. For folks within the US, it gives you a preview of what to search for after sunset. 

The challenge expects this to be “one of the best 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 even 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 a bit of higher look. Give a wave to NASA’s Perseverance rover when you’re at it. The car is on monitor to succeed in 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 related. This yr, 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 loads brilliant within the evening, so get out and take a gander, or tune into the Digital Telescope Mission’s reside feed from the consolation of your laptop. 

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Amanda Kooser