Here in the Northwest, we don’t yet know if our intermittent clouds will allow us to see Mars’ closest approach to our planet for the next 15 years. This occurs before sunrise on October 6th, 2020. Mars has been blazing in the night sky and will continue to do so for weeks, but Tuesday is when the red planet and our home marble meet to shake hands.
It is difficult to find clear patches of night sky without light pollution so I have learned to embrace the trees. If you’re not near trees, you’re probably near a building or city.
There was nothing else shining near the moon and Mars at this time on this night, making this all the more dramatic. Since the weather may or may not cooperate Tuesday, I figured I’d snap some photos in the absence of clouds.
This last photo deserved some FX. Mars was far bigger and brighter than it appears here. Tuesday it will be a mere 38.6 million miles away. Be sure to look up on October 13th, 2020 as well, when Mars is at opposition to the sun.
The planet Mars — crimson and bright, filling our telescopes with vague intimations of almost-familiar landforms– has long formed a celestial tabula rasa on which we have inscribed our planeto-logical theories, utopian fantasies, and fears of alien invasion or ecological ruin.David Grinspoon
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