The Opposite of Mars

In the sky is the Sun.

Today Mars is in “opposition,” which means that the planet is opposite the sun in the sky, with the Earth in between. So as the sun sets, mars will be rising in the northeastern , with the moon following shortly thereafter.

Graphic 

Last week Mars was at it’s closest to the Earth, and the time between sloe approach and opposition varies due to the eccentricity of the planets’ orbits.

Over the coming days and weeks, Mars will continue to rise earlier and earlier as the Earth passes Mars in its orbit around the sun. We – because we are closer to the sun – orbit faster than Mars, or any other of the “outer planets.”

If it is clear tonight, take a peek and see Mars rise as the sun sets.

And while you’re at it, glance at the moon as well, for you won’t see anything like it for sixteen years.

Tonight’s moon rides high on the ecliptic, like it does every December. But what’s interesting about this year is the moon won’t be this high in the sky until the year 2023.

So if you can make it outside, and it’s clear where you live, you will get to see two amazing things: Mars as close as it will be for the next nine years, and the moon the highest it will be for the next sixteen.

Isn’t the sky amazing?

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