White Dog and The Army have debated all evening tonight’s order of bedtime walks when Steve gets home from his late night of teaching. Each wants to be the first to share a rare astronomical treat when Mars, Earth and the sun will be arranged in a nearly straight line.
Every two years, Mars reaches a
point in its orbit called "opposition," when the planet lies directly
opposite the sun in Earth's sky, according to Astronomy magazine.
This month we’re closer to Mars than Earth has come for almost
six-and-a-half years. At their
closest point, Mars and Earth will "only" be about 57 million miles
apart. Mars appears brighter and bigger in our sky than it has since
This means Mars will rise today
near sunset and will remain visible all night long as it moves nearly overhead
across the night sky. It will be a bright burnt orange color, NASA's Mars
Exploration Program reports, and almost 10 times brighter than the brightest
stars in the sky. None of the White Dog Army wants to miss the opportunity of
sitting with dad and gazing skyward to view this phenomenon.
With no big storms forecast
Tuesday night, according to the National Weather Service, Mars should be
visible in most areas. Thus far, the night is filled with stars and invitingly
mysterious. I am certain that all decorum will be dashed when the WDA hears
Steve’s car pull up...and it is probable that walks will supersede dinner. But
then I am not so sure Steve, an avid sky watcher, will mind one bit.