This Weekend Offers A Chance To See Mars Up Close

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Photo:Mars globe
An image of Mars showing the massive canyon Valles Marineris.

If you've noticed a bright red light in the evening sky lately, you're actually not looking at a star, but at Mars. This weekend the red planet will be closer, larger and brighter than it has been in 15 years. CU Boulder astronomer Doug Duncan talked to Colorado Matters about how to spot the planet and why it'll be so visible from July 27-31.

On July 31, Mars will be 35.8 million miles away. The closest it ever comes to Earth is 33.9 million miles.

To find Mars, look to the southeastern sky around 11 p.m. Astronomers measure the night sky in degrees -- the horizon is at zero, directly overhead is at 90 degrees. Measuring degrees is as easy as holding out your fist, which equals about 10 degrees. Mars usually hangs out at 15 degrees. NASA has a handy guide available as well.