The distance between Earth and Mars is shrinking to its smallest in more than two years. On March 3 Mars will be in opposition to the sun, providing excellent opportunities for viewing the Red Planet. The celestial event known as Mars opposition occurs whenever Earth passes between the sun and the Red Planet, approximately once every two years and two months. This makes Mars visible opposite the sun in the Earth’s sky, which is a great time to view the Red planet because the sun’s rays illuminate the full face of Mars. Because the two planets’ orbits regularly bring them close together, it also provides a good time to launch Mars missions such as the recent Mars Science Laboratory. Mars and Earth will actually be at their closest on March 5, so you have a decent chance to catch the Red Planet anytime in the next few weeks. How to Watch • To spot Mars with your naked eye, look for a bright orange-red dot in the eastern sky shortly after the sun sets. The planet, which can be distinguished from stars because it doesn’t twinkle, will rise to its highest position in the southern sky around midnight. • Those with a more »
Tornados have been sweeping across America and the best way to put the sheer scale of destruction in perspective is from the air. When you are done check out our story “Tornado Destruction In The Midwest [58 High Quality Photos]” to see what things look like from the ground.