Watch Mars rule the October night sky as it reaches opposition on Tuesday

Mars will vibrant and delightful within the October 2020 night time sky.


Overlook Halloween. October 2020 is all in regards to the glory of Mars, because the glimmering crimson planet places on a present within the night time sky. We handed Mars’ shut method to Earth on Oct. 6 and now we’re pumped for Oct. 13, when it will likely be in opposition. 

Recognizing Mars

Mars has a repute because the “crimson” planet, however its coloration within the night time sky is a bit more on the Halloween facet of the spectrum. It seems as a vibrant orange-red dot to the bare eye, like just a little spot of glittering rust.

Mars’ distinctive coloration is one clue you have discovered it at the hours of darkness. Look to the japanese sky to catch it rising at night time. It is a nice time for viewing the planet, partly as a result of recognizing it’s so easy. It must be seen for a lot of the night time. As NASA says, “Merely go exterior and search for and, relying in your native climate and lighting situations, you must 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 alleged to be in opposition. It is a excellent time to trace Mars’ motion throughout the sky. It can 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 may have to attend over two years for it to occur once more. 

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

The undertaking expects this to be “the perfect observing situations 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 surface,” 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 may as well look forward to a rare Halloween blue moon when our lunar neighbor is full on Oct. 31. It is not spooky; it is boo-tiful.

Rewind to the shut method on Oct. 6

Tuesday, Oct. 6 marked the shut method of Mars to Earth, however this whole month remains to be an excellent time to seize a telescope and get just a little higher look. Give a wave to NASA’s Perseverance rover when you’re at it. The automobile 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 reveals the obvious sizes of Mars throughout shut approaches in 2018 and 2020. 


Shut method could also be over, however the planet remains to be lots vibrant within the night time, so get out and take a gander, or tune into the Digital Telescope Mission’s stay feed from the consolation of your pc. 

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Amanda Kooser