What time will Mars be visible tonight? How to spot the red planet in the night sky | Top Stories
While you might have heard about tonight’s blood moon lunar eclipse , you may not be aware of another astronomical event happening this evening.
People around the world will also be treated to one of the best views of Mars , as the red planet passes close to the Earth.
Mars will shine bright red in the night sky as it comes to opposition – when Earth passes between the sun and the red planet.
Here’s everything you need to know about the event, and how you can spot Mars.
What time will Mars be visible?
Mars will shine bright red in the night sky this evening and early tomorrow morning.
The best time to spot the planet is around 02:00am, when Mars will reach an elevation of around 20 degrees about the southern horizon.
It’ll only be visible though if the skies are clear where you are.
Why will Mars be visible tonight?
Mars comes to opposition tonight, making it shine brightly.
Around the time of opposition, Mars passes its closest to Earth for the year, while being opposite the sun.
This makes the planet shine brightly in the night sky.
What’s so special about this year?
While oppositions of Mars happen every two year, not all oppositions are equal.
This year brings Mars’ brightest appearance in the sky in 15 years, thanks to an extra-close opposition.
An extra-close opposition happens when Earth goes between Mars and sun around the time that the red planet is near ‘perihelion’ – its closest point to the sun.
How to make sure you see Mars
For your best chance of seeing Mars, head to an area with little light pollution – such as the countryside.