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If, like me, you’re in dire need of something to look at other than your own walls and the entire Netflix catalogue, then you’re in luck.
That’s because Mars is coming through to put on a show from tonight, May 13, as it becomes tangled with the moon – or so it will look to us mere Earthlings.
You’d have to stay up pretty late (or just get up early in the morning) to see Mars and the moon getting acquainted in the sky, as it’s happening a couple hours before sunrise on May 14 and May 15.
Although it will appear to us as though the two orbs are right next to one another, Mars will actually be around 425 times further away from us on planet Earth than the moon.
The closest pass between Mars and the moon is set to occur around 10.00pm EST, which works out at being 3.00am in the UK. But, hey, what even is a sleeping pattern during lockdown anyway?
It’ll be worth the wait because, not only should you catch a glimpse of the moon getting up close and personal with Mars, you should also be able to see both Jupiter and Saturn shining brightly in the sky. Jupiter is the fourth brightest shining object in our sky, only beaten by the sun, the moon and Venus.
While Mars will still be looking fairly shiny, the planet isn’t set to reach its brightest until October 13, when it will be a whole 16 times brighter than it appears this month, according to EarthSky. By then, it will shine even brighter than Jupiter, so that’s something to look forward to.
Without taking the sun into account, Mars is currently ranked as the eighth brightest ‘star’ lighting up the sky, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to spot getting cosy with the moon.
Meanwhile, Jupiter will come into its own in almost two months’ time, on July 14, when it will shine at its brightest in Earth’s sky for the entire year. By that point, it will appear 1.2 times brighter than tonight.
Anyway, I best get back to bed for a nap if I’m staying up until 3.00am for the show. Happy Mars watching, folks – the Netflix catalogue will still be waiting for you when you get back.
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