FP TrendingOct 14, 2020 16:37:31 IST
Mars appeared at its brightest and most visible on Tuesday night. This, as the Red Planet made its closest pass of Earth and directly opposite the Sun. The NASA Mars Twitter account shared the information, along with the caption, “You don’t need a spacecraft to see Mars! You can’t miss it in the eastern sky just after sunset or toward the south by midnight local time. Today Mars is at opposition, meaning it’s positioned directly opposite the Sun, which makes it especially bright.”
In a separate tweet it posted that for those dealing with local weather, they need not worry as the Red Planet will remain unusually bright for the next few weeks.
For those dealing with local weather ☁️ don’t worry – Mars will remain unusually bright for the next few weeks.
— NASA Mars (@NASAMars) October 13, 2020
As per a report by The Washington Post, the ‘opposition’ of Mars means it will be visible all night long, starting in the east post sunset and climbing across the sky before setting in the west around sunrise.
As per NASA’s website, during opposition, Mars and Sun are on directly opposite sides of Earth. From the perspective of inhabitants on Earth, Mars rises in the east just as the Sun sets in the west. Then, after staying up in the sky the entire night, Mars sets in the west just as the Sun rises in the east. Since Mars and the Sun appear on opposite sides of the sky, Mars is said to be in opposition.
NASA reveals that oppositions of Mars happen every 26 months and uses the racetrack model to explain the phenomenon. Earth is on the inside of the racetrack while Mars is on the outside. Every 26 months, speedy Earth catches up to a slower Mars and laps it. The opposition occurs just as Earth takes the lead.