Rare Chance to See Mars and the Moon Close to Each Other
A lot has been made already about Halloween sharing the calendar with a full moon this week. It hasn't happened since 1944 and we won't see one again for another 19 years.
But there's something else happening in the skies leading up to Halloween that's pretty cool in itself.
This month, the Earth is as close as its' been to Mars in the last two years, and with the moon getting brighter and fuller heading into the weekend, it makes for optimal viewing in the Eastern sky at about 5:00 AM beginning tonight (October 28) and for the next three nights.
EarthSky says is all about what's known as 'opposition':
'Our planet Earth, in our faster and smaller orbit around the sun, laps Mars in periods of about 2 years and 2 months. Whenever Earth passes between Mars and the sun, Mars is said to be at opposition. It’s at opposition that Mars is opposite the sun in Earth’s sky. It’s at or around opposition that Earth comes closest to Mars for the year, and Mars, in turn, shines most brilliantly in Earth’s sky.'
And while this 'opposition' will occur in two years, it won't be this bright again until September 15, 2035.