October 2020 is all about the glory of Mars, as the bright red planet presents a show in the night sky. We passed the close approach of Mars to Earth on October 6 and now we can expect Mars to be in opposition on Tuesday night.
Discovery of Mars
Mars has a reputation as a “red”
The distinctive color of Mars is a clue you found in the dark. Look at the eastern sky to catch it rising at night. This is a great time to explore the planet, in part because it’s so easy to spot. Must be seen most of the night. As NASA says, “Just go outside and look up, and depending on local weather and lighting conditions, you should be able to see Mars.”
See oursif you want extra help finding the planet.
Opposition: October 13
When Mars and the Sun line up with the Earth in the middle, it is said that the red planet is in opposition. This is the perfect time to track the movement of Mars in the sky. It will rise to the east when the sun sets, move across the sky, and then set to the west when the sun rises.
NASA describes the opposition as “virtually a ‘full’ Mars.” Tuesday, October 13, is the time to enjoy the opposition. You will have to wait more than two years for it to happen again.
The virtual telescope project, which provides us with live broadcasts from celestial events, will broadcast a viewing of opposition to Mars starting at 1 p.m. PT. on October 13th. This is the perfect way to enjoy the action without worrying about the weather. For people in the US it will give you a preview of what to look for after sunset.
The project expects these to be “the best conditions for monitoring from July 2018.”
Mars Pits: Look into the abyss with these wild images of NASA
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“The planetary orbit model explains why. Earth and Mars are like runners on a runway. Earth is inside, Mars is outside,” NASA said in its October blog. “Every 26 months, the fast Earth catches up with the slower Mars and orbits it. Opposition arises just when the Earth takes the lead.”
Mars is not the only show in the sky for October. You can toowhen our lunar neighbor is full on October 31st. This is not ghostly; this is a shoe.
Scroll around on October 6th
Tuesday, October 6, marked the imminent approach of Mars to Earth, but this whole month is still a good time to take a telescope and look a little better. Give a wave towhile you are in it. The vehicle is about to reach the planet in February 2021.
NASA shared the artist’s opinion on the careful approach on Tuesday, October 6, compared to the last time it huddled in July 2018. The apparent dimensions look very similar. This year, Mars had a minimum distance of 62 million kilometers, which is about 3 million miles farther than in 2018.
The close-up approach may be over, but the planet is still very bright at night, so go out and take a look or join the virtual telescope project show from the comfort of your computer.