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Look up, Mars is visible in night sky during a 'close approach'

Mars CNN 040319
Posted at 10:43 AM, Oct 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-13 12:39:54-04

Look up this week to get a glimpse of Mars, it’s making a “close approach” of Earth right now.

On October 13, the Earth is directly in the middle of the sun and Mars. Mars is traveling close to the earth right now, as it does every two years according to its orbit around the sun.

Mars will be visible from dusk until dawn in the southern sky.

Being “close” is relative, at its closest, Mars will still be 33.9 million miles away, according to NASA. Earth and Mars have elliptical, or egg-shaped, paths around the sun; meaning the distance between the two planets widens and narrows as they orbit.

However, even being millions of miles away, the “close approach,” as NASA calls it, will allow an opportunity to see Mars without a telescope. Mars was at its brightest on October 6, and is slowly getting farther away.

Mars will appear very bright in the sky during this time as it’s close to earth. NASA says it is more like the size of a star than the moon, a very bright star.

If clouds or other distractions block the view of Mars this week, there will be another chance to see the red planet in December 2022. At that time, Mars will get within 38 million miles of earth.