Explained: Why Mars is the brightest this month

Katie Ramirez
October 15, 2020

"And it's now beginning to slip away from us again ever so slowly, but this week Mars will actually be at its brightest when it reaches what's known as opposition in the sky on Tuesday". Mars will rise in the east as the sun sets, and will peak in the night sky at midnight, when it is high above the southern horizon. That means the distance between the two worlds varies, making some oppositions better than others.

For observers who are cooped up at home or can not enjoy the privilege of looking up at the night sky, the Virtual Telescope Project will be streaming a Mars opposition viewing at 1 p.m. PT on October 13.

Mars will appear bigger and brighter in the night sky on Tuesday, as the red planet lines up on the opposite side of the Earth from the sun. In case of Mars, roughly every two years, the Earth passes between sun and Mars, this is when the three are arranged in a straight line. An object is at Opposition when the Sun is on one side of the Earth and the object is directly on the opposite side.

"The next time you will be able to see Mars as big and bright will be 2023".

"If Earth and Mars had perfectly circular orbits, their minimum distance would always be the same". Viewers in the Northern Hemisphere will have an fantastic view of the Red planet during its opposition, as it will be positioned farther up in the sky during this time. Next morning, as the sun rises in the east, it set down in the west. Mars will be one of the brightest objects in the night sky from now until the end of October.

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The nearly frontal illumination by sunlight will make its reddish colour much better seen from both hemispheres with or without the aid of a telescope.

Perseverance is due to land at the base of an 820-foot-deep crater called Jezero, site of a former lake and water system from 3.5 billion years ago that scientists suspect could bear evidence of potential past microbial life. 2003 record will stand until August 28, 2287! This is a good time to track the movement of Mars in the sky.

Astronomers say you can see surface features and polar regions when you look at the red planet through a telescope - like in this picture by Dr. But on 13th October, the Red Planet will be at its maximum apparent size and will be at its brightest this month.

NASA describes the resistance "Effectively a "full" Tuesday". "Resistance occurs just as the Earth does".

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