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Mars will appear brighter than it has been for 15 years

Alyson Hurt

Check out the night sky later, and there’s a good chance you’ll be able to see Mars a little easier.

That’s because the sun, Earth and Mars are lined up, something called Mars opposition, which  makes the planet appear brighter in the sky.

Steve Fentress, planetarium director for the Strasenburgh Planetarium at the Rochester Museum and Science Center tells us a bit more about what’s going on.

"Well you know earth goes around the sun. And Mars is in the next orbit out and it goes slower than we do, so we catch up to it about every 26 months and come relatively close. And about every 15 years it happens in a place where the orbits are closer together so we get really extra close every 15 years, and that’s happening right now."

Fentress says this only happens about every 15 years, when the planets 35.8 million miles apart.

"That’s close for the space between two planets in our solar system yes that’s the closest we every get to any other planet."

He says Mars will be bright through September so you have another month and a half to see it for yourself.