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Look up: Mars will be at its brightest today

Look up: Mars will be at its brightest today
/ Derek Berwin / The Image Bank / Getty Images

Mars joins Saturn and Jupiter in lighting up the night sky!

Just last week, we reported on the harvest moon and why we will get thirteen full moons in 2020, rather than the usual twelve.

Now we have another reason to stare into the night sky...

Along with the second full moon which will occur on October 31, tonight marks another special moment as Mars will be visible to the naked eye.

On Wednesday, the planet reaches opposition, a point where Earth lies directly between it and the sun, giving stargazers around the world the rare opportunity to see Mars at its absolute brightest!

This occurs roughly once every two years. In fact, it's already brighter than Jupiter, which is typically the second-brightest planet in the sky, after only Venus.

How to enjoy it

You can find Mars rising in the east just after sunset. So long as there are clear skies, you should be able to see the red planet. If you want a closer view, binoculars are recommended, but not necessary. However, with a clear sky and a telescope, viewers will be able to see some incredible surface details and polar ice caps.

For those interested, the Virtual Telescope Project is also hosting a live online viewing event on Wednesday.

If you miss it tonight, the next Mars close approach isn’t until Dec. 8, 2022.



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