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World

Mars, Earth, Sun Line up Perfectly in Sky This Weekend

This once-every-two-years event is called Mars opposition

Falcon 9 in Cape Canaveral, Florida, photo: SpaceX, via AP
2 years ago
Hubble's Close Encounter with Mars -- August 26, 2003   - NASA, J. Bell (Cornell U.) and M. Wolff (SSI)  http://hubblesite.org/gallery/album/pr2003022g/

Hubble’s Close Encounter with Mars on August 26, 2003. Photo: NASA/J. Bell and Cornell U./ M. Wolff 

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida — Last week, Mercury stole the show. Now it’s Mars’ turn.

On Sunday morning, Mars, Earth and the sun will line up perfectly in the sky. This once-every-two-years event is called Mars opposition. That’s because Mars and the sun will be on opposite sides of Earth.

Right now, Mars is about 48 million miles from us. That won’t change much by Sunday. But on May 30, Mars will pass within 47 million miles of Earth, the closest in a decade.

Sky-watchers, gazing to the southeast at nightfall, can enjoy a brighter, seemingly bigger Mars into June. The Hubble Space Telescope, meanwhile, will be zooming in for some pretty pictures.

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