Mars, Saturn shine bright Thursday evening

Mars moves into 'opposition' Friday


ROANOKE, Va. – Between Saturday and Wednesday, places like Roanoke and Blacksburg have averaged 80% and 86% cloud cover respectively. That has hindered our ability to see Mars shining brightly in the night sky each night. 

Thursday night, however, we'll only see a few high cirrus clouds around. As the sun sets, this should allow us a good chance to see Mars as a bright red 'star' left of the nearly full moon. Meanwhile, Saturn will be right of the moon. 

Mars will shine much brighter and, in fact, is shining even brighter than Jupiter these days. On Friday, while the moon goes completely full, Mars will move into opposition. 

Opposition is when Earth is sandwiched in between the sun and Mars. That's why the "Red Planet" is looking brighter and perhaps even redder in our sky lately. 

By July 31, Mars will be at its closest point to Earth since 2003. It won't be that close again until the year 2035. 

Enjoy it while you can, because much of next week looks cloudy with several chances for scattered showers and storms.

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