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When to See Mars in the Sky This October

Mars Gets So Close to Earth This October, It'll Look Like a Glowing Pumpkin in the Night Sky

NEWARK, NJ - OCTOBER 2: The moon rises along with Mars behind lower Manhattan and One World Trade Center in New York City, a day after the full Harvest Moon on October 1, 2020 as seen from Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Gary Hershorn/Getty Images)

Mars to the left of the moon in the New York City sky on Oct. 1, 2020.

This month marks an exciting time for stargazers. In addition to the blue moon taking place on Halloween, Mars will be especially bright in the night sky throughout October because of its closer proximity to Earth.

On Oct. 6, the fiery planet will make its closest approach — "close" being a relative term here, of course, because it'll still be about 38 million miles away from Earth. That means Mars will be visible to the naked eye, looking like a teeny, glowing pumpkin floating in a sea of darkness. Mars won't be this close to Earth for another 15 years: in 2035, it will come within 34 million miles.

And that's not all! On Oct. 13, an event referred to as "opposition" will mean that Mars, Earth, and the sun will be perfectly aligned, with Earth in the middle. Whenever this happens, Mars reaches its highest point right around midnight and sets at sunrise. Fortunately, all we have to do to witness this dazzling space show is go outside and look up.

Image Source: Getty / Gary Hershorn
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