01 January 2010

Mars arrives in the evening sky

Mars is back on display, now visible shortly after sunset in the eastern sky. During the month of January it will reach "opposition" when it appears exactly opposite the Sun in the sky. At opposition Mars is also at closest approach to Earth (and is therefore at its brightest for the year). It shines a distinctive red-orange color especially when compared to the stars in Leo and Cancer that surround it. Through binoculars or a telescope Mars appears as a small colorful dot of light. This week the Moon serves as a guide for locating Mars.

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