Mars to be opposite, closest to Sun on October 13

Katie Ramirez
October 12, 2020

Mars will be at its brightest in 2020 throughout the month of October and it will be shining brighter than Jupiter, which of course, is the largest planet in our solar system.

Mars will be at opposition October 13.

"Indeed, Mars won't be comparably close and well-positioned for northern observers again until it reaches opposition in 2052, making this year's opposition all the more noteworthy", Gary Seronik, consulting editor for Sky & Telescope magazine, said in a statement.

Now, although Mars is closer today, it will be brightest on October 13 when Earth moves between the Red Planet and the sun at its, according to EarthSky. When it aligns with the sun and Earth several weeks later, it's known as "perihelic oppositions". The Red Planet will not appear this bright again till the next 15 years, so make sure you don't miss this opportunity.

Space scientist and astronomer Duncan Steel said Mars will be hard to miss in the night sky, even for those without the use of binoculars or a telescope.

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Mars' opposition year is notable because the planet will also be at its perihelion - the closet point to the Sun in its orbit around the fiery star. It will also be significant since the planet will be at its brightest and near its maximum apparent size in telescopes.

Because Mars is closer to the earth, it appears much brighter and bigger. Advertisement This year's opposition is incredibly unique because the Red Planet will also be at the point in its orbit closest to the Sun called the perihelion.

It is worth noting that this is not the first time, but it has already happened in 2003, when Kokol Mars was only 56 km from planet Earth, which is the closest point to which the two planets reached together. According to NASA, "back in 2003, Mars made its closest approach to Earth in almost 60,000 years!"

You can catch the planet streak across Earth's skies without necessarily needing a telescope.

The best way to see Mars is to head outside in the early evening and gaze just above the horizon in the eastern sky. With the rotation and revolution of Mars and Earth taking place simultaneously, Mars will rise as the Sunsets and it will set as the Sun rises.

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