If you catch yourself looking up at the night sky this evening, you might notice what looks like a bright star with an orange tint. That's actually the planet Mars. Here's HLN:
'The planet is expected to line up with Earth and the Sun. It happens every two years. You should be able to get a good look tonight.'
KMPH says 'Astronomers say to look for a bright orange dot in the sky tonight. That is Mars and it should be 10 times brighter than the brightest star in the sky.'
Out of this world photos
- Twelve orbits a day provide the Mars Global Surveyor MOC wide angle cameras a global "snapshot" of weather patterns across the planet.
Twelve orbits a day provide the Mars Global Surveyor MOC wide angle cameras a global 'snapshot' of weather patterns across the planet. (Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)
- MARS ROVERS
In this photo taken May 19, 2005, provided by NASA, shows a false color image captured by Mars Exploration Rover Spir. it shows the rim of Gusev crater on Mars. This picture of the western sky was obtained using Pancam's 750-nanometer, 530-nanometer and 430-nanometer color filters. This filter combination allows false color images to be generated that are similar to what a human would see, but with the colors slightly exaggerated. Nearly two years after NASA's twin rovers parachuted to Mars, a Jekyll-and-Hyde picture is emerging about the planet's past and whether it could have supported life. Both Spirit and Opportunity uncovered geologic evidence of a wet past, a sign that ancient Mars may have been hospitable to life. But new findings reveal the Red Planet was also once such a hostile place that the environment may have prevented life from developing. (AP Photo/NASA/JPL/Texas A&M/Cornell)
- NASA's Curiosity Rover Captures Mars
IN SPACE - AUGUST 8: In this handout image provided by NASA and released on August 8, 2012, the four main pieces of hardware that arrived on Mars with NASA's Curiosity rover are spotted by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). The High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera captured this image about 24 hours after landing. The large, reduced-scale image points out the strewn hardware: the heat shield was the first piece to hit the ground, followed by the back shell attached to the parachute, then the rover itself touched down, and finally, after cables were cut, the sky crane flew away to the northwest and crashed. The relatively dark areas in all four spots are from disturbances of the bright dust on Mars, revealing the darker material below the surface dust. (Photo by NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona via Getty Images)
- NASA's Curiosity Rover Captures Mars
IN SPACE - AUGUST 5: In this handout image provided by NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS, This color thumbnail image was obtained by NASA's Curiosity rover during its descent to the surface on Aug. 5 PDT and transmitted to Spaceflight Operations Facility for NASA's Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover at Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California. The image from Curiosity's Mars Descent Imager illustrates the roughly circular swirls of dust kicked up from the Martian surface by the rocket motor exhaust. At this point, Curiosity is about 70 feet (20 meters) above the surface. This dust cloud was generated when the Curiosity rover was being lowered to the surface while the Sky Crane hovered above. This is the first image of the direct effects of rocket motor plumes on Mars and illustrates the mobility of powder-like dust on the Martian surface. It is among the first color images Curiosity sent back from Mars. The original image from MARDI has been geometrically corrected to look flat. The MSL Rover named Curiosity is equipped with a nuclear-powered lab capable of vaporizing rocks and ingesting soil, measuring habitability, and whether Mars ever had an environment able to support small life forms called microbe. (Photo by NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS via Getty Images)
- Comparative Sizes of the Planets: A Handbook and Atlas of Astronomy
UNITED KINGDOM - SEPTEMBER 07: Book: A Handbook and Atlas of Astronomy; W. Peck, F.R.A.S. Designed as a complete guide to a knowledge of the heavenly bodies; and as an aid to those possessing telescopes. Gall and Inglis. Plate 10: The comparative sizes of the planets. (Photo by Science Museum/SSPL/Getty Images)
- Alborz Mountains of Iran
IRAN - SEPTEMBER 07: In the evening sky the young Moon meets with bright planet Venus as seen from 3400 meters high Dizin peak on Alborz Mountains of Iran. Saturn and Mars are also aligned with Venus along the ecliptic on the upper left. (Photo by Babek Tafreshi/SSPL/Getty Images)
- An Asteroid's Sky Trek
UNITED STATES - JULY 18: While analyzing NASA Hubble Space Telescope images of the Sagittarius dwarf irregular galaxy (SagDIG), an international team of astronomers were surprised to see the trail of a faint asteroid that had drifted across the field of view during the exposures. The trail is seen as a series of 13 reddish arcs on the right in this August 2003 Advanced Camera for Surveys image. As the Hubble telescope orbits around the Earth, and the Earth moves around the Sun, a nearby asteroid in our solar system will appear to move with respect to the vastly more distant background stars, due to an effect called parallax. It is somewhat similar to the effect you see from a moving car, in which trees by the side of the road appear to be moving much more rapidly than background objects at much larger distances. This is a previously unknown asteroid, located 169 million miles from Earth at the time of observation. The distance places the new object, most likely, in the main asteroid belt, lying between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. Based on the observed brightness of the asteroid, the astronomers estimate that it has a diameter of about 1.5 miles. The brightest stars in the picture (easily distinguished by the spikes radiating from their images, produced by optical effects within the telescope), are foreground stars lying within our own Milky Way galaxy. Their distances from Earth are typically a few thousand light-years. The faint, bluish SagDIG stars lie at about 3.5 million light-years (1.1 Megaparsecs) from us. Lastly, background galaxies (reddish/brown extended objects with spiral arms and halos) are located even further beyond SagDIG at several tens of millions parsecs away. There is thus a vast range of distances among the objects visible in this photo, ranging from about 169 million miles for the asteroid, up to many quadrillions of miles for the faint, small galaxies. (Photo by NASA/SSPL/Getty Images)
- Solar System
Solar System (Photo By BSIP/UIG Via Getty Images)
- Rare Planetary Alignment Seen In Australian Sky
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MAY 13: Jupiter, Venus, Mercury and Mars are seen above the Sydney Opera House in rare alignment over the Australian east coast on May 13, 2011 in Sydney, Australia. Four planets rarely align, occurring only once every 50 to 100 years, and has not been been seen over Australia since 1910. Many astrologists believe the alignment will have an affect on many people's behaviours and emotions. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
- A portion of the west rim of Endeavour crater sweeps southward in this false color view from NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity.
A portion of the west rim of Endeavour crater sweeps southward in this false color view from NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity. (Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)
- NASA Mars Test
In this June 28, 2014 video frame provided by NASA, rockets fire on NASA's Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) as the saucer-shaped test vehicle flies into near-space. NASA engineers insist that a test of technology they hope to one day use above Mars achieved most of its objectives and taught them essential lessons for their next try despite a parachute that virtually disintegrated the moment it deployed. (AP Photo/NASA)
- Mars Rover
FILE - This composite image provided by NASA shows before and-after images taken by the Opportunity rover. At left is an image of a patch of ground taken on Dec. 26, 2013. At right is in image taken on Jan. 8, 2014 showing a rock shaped like a jelly doughnut that had not been there before. Researchers have determined this now-infamous Martian rock resembling a jelly doughnut, dubbed Pinnacle Island, is a piece of a larger rock broken and moved by the wheel of NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity in early January. Opportunity landed on Mars in 2004 and continues to explore. (AP Photo/NASA)
- PATHFINDER STAMP
The U.S. Postal Service announced Wednesday Nov. 12, 1997 it will issue a $3 Priority Mail stamp commemorating the Mars Pathfinder, whose mission to the red planet rivited Americans' attention this past summer. The stamp will be officially dedicated in a ceremony at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. on Dec. 10. (AP Photo/USPS)
- Art Mars Rovers
This image provided by NASA shows a view by the Mars Rover Spirit of a sunset over the rim of Gusev Crater, about 80 kilometers (50 miles) away. Taken from Husband Hill, it looks much like a sunset on Earth, a reminder that other worlds can seem eerily familiar. Sunset and twilight images help scientists to determine how high into the atmosphere the Martian dust extends and to look for dust or ice clouds. Ten years after NASA landed two rovers on Mars on a 90-day mission, one rover is still exploring, and the project has generated hundreds of thousands of images from the Martian surface. Now the Smithsonianâs National Air and Space Museum is presenting more than 50 of the best photographs from the two Mars rovers in an art exhibit curated by the scientists who have led the ongoing mission. (AP Photo/NASA/JPL-Caltech/Texas A&M/Cornell University)
- Mars Food Mission
In this June 4 2013 photo provided by the University of Hawaii, research space scientist Oleg Abramov walks outside simulated Martian base at Mauna Loa, Hawaii. Six researchers have spent the past four months living in a small dome on a barren Hawaii lava field at 8,000 feet, trying to figure out what foods astronauts might eat on Mars and during deep-space missions. (AP Photo/University of Hawaii, Angelo Vermeulen)
- Future Mars
This photo released by NASA shows a view of Mars that was stitched together by images taken by NASAâs Viking Orbiter spacecraft. The space agency is planning to send a spacecraft similar to the Curiosity rover to the red planet in 2020. A NASA-appointed team released a report on Tuesday, July 9, 2013 that described the missionâs science goals. (AP Photo/NASA)
This event happens every two years because the planets are relatively close to each other. But this year it's a little different. National Geographic reports: 'This year's event creates the perfect cosmic alignment to have Mars shine its biggest and brightest in the evening sky in nearly seven years.'
According to Space.com, 'As March gives way to April, the distance between the two planets is shrinking by about 300 kilometers every minute.'
Astronomers know this event as the 'opposition of Mars,' which sounds like some sort of alien thriller. But it's really when Mars and the Sun are on opposite sides of the sky.
'Mars rises in the east at sunset and soars almost overhead at midnight.'
If you're an astronomy junkie, you'll be happy to know Mars will make another appearance next week.
On April 14, at 8:53 a.m. EST, Mars will come within 57.4 million miles of Earth, its closest approach since January 2008. That also happens to be the same night as the total lunar eclipse.
Sounds like we are in for quite the astronomical treat.