MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Mars will shine bright in the night sky in July and early August. The red planet will be in opposition at the end of July, which means Earth will move in between Mars and the sun. This results in Mars being much closer to earth, which gives us an amazing view of the planet from here on Earth.
Typically, Mars is about 140 million miles away from Earth, but it will only be 35.8 million miles away when it reaches opposition on July 27. Mars will be five times brighter than normal from July 21 and August 3. According to astronomers, Mars was closer in 2003 than it had been in 60,000 years. Although much closer than average, it will still be about 1.2 million miles farther away this year than it was in 2003.
You can view Mars any time after sunset as it rises in the east. It will coincide with the full moon at the end of the month, so it should be easy to spot. It is characterized by an orange-red glow.