Mars At Its Brightest Since 2003 As Moon Visits Venus. What You Can See In The Night Sky This Week

Each week I pick out the northern hemisphere’s celestial highlights (mid-northern latitudes) for the week ahead, but be sure to check my main feed for more in-depth articles on stargazing, astronomy and eclipses. 

What To Watch For In The Night Sky This Week: October 12-18, 2020

This week it’s all about Mars, which will look its biggest, brightest and best in post-sunset skies since 2018 and, technically speaking, since 2003.

However, it’s also a week where the Moon wanes towards its New phase, meaning dark skies at night, gorgeous crescents in the early pre-dawn mornings early in the week, and in early evenings from Sunday. 

MORE FROM FORBESWhat’s That Really Bright ‘Star’ In The Night Sky?

Tuesday, October 13, 2020: Mars at opposition

Tonight the red planet reaches opposition,

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Planet Mars is at its ‘biggest and brightest’

Mars pictured by Damian Peach on 30 September
In all its glory: Mars pictured by Damian Peach on 30 September

Get out there and look up!

Mars is at its biggest and brightest right now as the Red Planet lines up with Earth on the same side of the Sun.

Every 26 months, the pair take up this arrangement, moving close together, before then diverging again on their separate orbits around our star.

Tuesday night sees the actual moment of what astronomers call “opposition”.

All three bodies will be in a straight line at 23:20 GMT (00:20 BST).

“But you don’t have to wait until the middle of the night; even now, at nine or 10 o’clock in the evening, you’ll easily see it over in the southeast,” says astrophotographer, Damian Peach. “You can’t miss it, it’s the brightest star-like object in that part of the sky,” he told BBC News.

Even though this coming week witnesses the

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