Mars' orbit will make its closest pass near Earth in 15 years July 27-31. It will also appear brighter.
The best time to look will be at about midnight, when Mars reaches its highest point. With a clear sky forecast viewing conditions will be very good.
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When you look up and see the full moon, Mars will be sitting just below it. Mars will rise in the southeast at about sunset and slowly track across the sky all night before setting to the southwest around sunrise. You will be able to see Mars without a telescope.
Mars will look bright because we are approaching Mars' opposition. This weekend, Earth will be positioned directly between Mars and the sun. This only happens once or twice every 15-17 years.
If you have a telescope, normally during opposition, you would be able to get a good look at some of the details of the planet. This time, however, that may not be the case. A massive dust storm on Mars will make it hard to see the surface.
By mid-August, Mars will become fainter as Mars and Earth travel farther away from each other in their orbits around the Sun.
The next time Mars will be this close is Oct. 6, 2020.
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