Mars will be closer to Earth this week than at any other time for the next 15 years.
The fourth planet from the sun, it is currently sitting just north of the celestial equator.
That means it is almost perfectly placed to be seen from both hemispheres, and it is shining with brilliant intensity in the evening sky.
It is positioned in a region of the sky that contains no bright stars, so it will be unmistakeable.
On October 6, 2020, Mars makes its closest approach to Earth until 2035.
Earth and Mars both orbit the Sun in the same direction, but at different speeds and distances.
Consequently, Earth only overtakes Mars once every 780 days: just over 2 years. Mars remains bright and celestially well-positioned for viewing all throughout October.
This is the closest it’ll be for the next 15 years. And it means that stargazing is highly recommended as Mars will be bright, big and easy to see with or without a telescope.
So this week is a pretty special opportunity that we won’t have again until 2035.