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How to see Mars rule the night sky in October



March will be bright and beautiful in the night sky in October 2020.

NASA

Forget Halloween. In October, it’s all about Mars’ glory. The glittering red planet will show up in the night sky.

You can enjoy Mars as a bright bright spot throughout the month, but there are two special dates to mark in your calendar: October 6 when the planet approaches Earth and October 1

3 when it will be in opposition.

Spotting Mars

Mars has a reputation as the “red” planet, but its color in the night sky is a little more on the Halloween side of the spectrum. It seems like a bright orange-red dot to the naked eye, like a small speck of glittering rust.

The distinct color of Mars is a hint that you have found it in the dark. Look at the eastern sky to catch it rising at night. It will look bright this month if your local weather cooperates to give you a good view.

Close approach: 6 October

Tuesday, October 6, March marks a close approach to Earth. This would be a great time to grab a telescope and look a little better. Give another wave NASA’s endurance rover while you are doing it. The vehicle is on track to reach the planet in February 2021.

NASA shared an artist’s view on Tuesday, October 6, close approach compared to the last time it snuggled in July 2018. The obvious sizes look very similar. This year, Mars will have a minimum distance of 38.6 million miles (62 million kilometers), which is about 3 million miles further than 2018.

This artist’s vision shows Mars’ apparent sizes under close approach in 2018 and 2020.

NASA

Opposition: 13 October

When Mars and the sun are in line with the earth in the middle, the red planet is said to be in opposition. This is a perfect time to track Mars’ motion across the sky. It will rise in the east when the sun goes down, move across the sky and then go down in the west when the sun rises.

NASA describes the opposition as “effectively a” full “Mars.” Tuesday 13 October, it’s time to enjoy resistance. You have to wait over two years for that to happen again.

“The racetrack model for planetary orbits explains why. Earth and Mars are like runners on a track. Earth is inside, Mars is outside,” NASA said in its What’s Up blog for October. “Every 26 months, the fast earth catches up with the slower Mars and strikes it. Opposition occurs just as the earth takes the lead.”

March is not the only show in the sky in October. You can too looking forward to a rare Halloween blue moon when our neighbor is drunk on October 31st. It’s not ghostly; it’s boo-tiful.


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