The Red Planet is heading towards an unusually close approach to Earth on October 6 and will be visible throughout October and November.
Mars is the fourth planet from the sun and the second smallest planet in the Solar System, being larger than only Mercury, and will be visible as it appears very close to the moon in the night sky.
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The full moon was visible last night which also makes it easier to catch sight of Mars. For the Northern Hemisphere, this full moon counts as our Harvest Moon, which is the full moon nearest the September equinox, and the first full moon of autumn.
This evening, when looking near the moon, you’ll be able to see what appears to be a red star to the east of the moon – but it isn’t a star.
It’s the red planet Mars, which is reaching its once in two years opposition in our sky.
Mars will reach opposition on October 13, which is the moment when the sun, Earth and Mars form a straight line in space.
When a planet reaches opposition, it lies exactly opposite from the sun in Earth’s sky and rises at sunset, reaches its highest point in the sky at midnight before setting at sunrise.
To see it, look for an object that appears as a bright red “star” low in the eastern sky, providing it’s a clear evening where you live.
When it gets dark, you should be able to see a fiery source of orange light to the east of the moon – and that’s Mars.
The planet will be visible in the night skies throughout October and even into November, meaning there’s plenty of opportunities to see it.
Despite being dubbed the Red Planet, Mars is actually a yellowish orange in colour and now is an ideal time to appreciate its true shade.
The brightness is caused by the planet being at its closest point to Earth along its multi-million mile orbit around the sun.
Mars remains a far distance away though the planet will pass within 40 million miles of Earth.
The full moon may have an effect on Mars’ brightness, but it should still be visible for those eager to catch a glimpse of the planet.
Mars, Sky, Full moon
World news – GB – Mars will be visible tonight and here’s how to see it