MARS reached ‘opposition’ this week, meaning it’s been looking big and bright in the night sky.
You should still be able to see the Red Planet tonight so take a look at the amazing photos from this week for inspiration.
Mars on October 13, as seen from Northumberland in the UKCredit: Splash News
Mars looked like a bright star in the early hours of this Wednesday morningCredit: ©Diarmuid Greene
Mars reached opposition on October 13.
However, it’s still visible with the naked eye in the evenings this week.
This stargazing event happens about every 2 years.
It involves Mars, the Earth and the Sun lining up together.
Mars to the right of the crescent MoonCredit: Rex Features
Mars looks bright and larger than usual, this image was captured in IrelandCredit: ©Diarmuid Greene
Nasa explains: “During opposition, Mars and the sun are on directly opposite sides of Earth.
“From our perspective on our spinning world, Mars rises in the east just as the sun sets in the west.
“Then, after staying up in the sky the entire night, Mars sets in the west just as the sun rises in the east.
Mars on October 13 next to One World Trade Center in New YorkCredit: Getty Images – Getty
“Since Mars and the sun appear on opposite sides of the sky, we say that Mars is in ‘opposition’.”
Try looking east/southeast about an hour after sunset.
Mars will look around three times bigger than usual so if you have binoculars or a telescope you could get an even better glimpse.
Try looking from an area with limited light pollution.
You can also download a sky scanning app which can tell you exactly what you’re looking at just by holding your phone to the sky.
To the untrained eye, Mars will look like a very bright reddish star.
It will be near the constellation of Pisces.
Here’s what you need to know about the red planet…
- Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun
- It is named after the Roman god of war
- The landmass of Mars is very similar to Earth but due to the difference in gravity you could jump three times higher there than you can here
- Mars is mountainous and hosts the tallest mountain known in the Solar System called Olympus Mons, which is three times higher than Everest
- Mars is considered to be the second most habitable planet after Earth
- It takes the planet 687 Earth days to orbit the Sun
- So far, there has been 39 missions to Mars but only 16 of these have been successful
In other space news, Elon Musk’s Tesla Roadster has passed Mars after he blasted it into space back in 2018.
Ancient asteroid Bennu contains the ingredients for life, according to Nasa experts.
And, Musk wants to send humans to Mars as early as 2024 aboard one of the huge rockets.
Will you be stargazing this evening? Let us know in the comments…
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