"April 1999: The Month of Mars"

Scheduled air date: 1999 Mar 29-Apr 04

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On April 24th, Mars will reach its best opposition of the decade and will appear brighter than any star (except our Sun)!
The position of Mars is shown three hours after sunset at two-night intervals from the 2nd through the 24th for Mid-Northern latitudes.  The background stars—including Arcturus—are shown for the night of April 24th; Mars moves only slightly relative to them.

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As illustrated above, Mars is at opposition when at a point in its orbit opposite the Sun, as seen from Earth.  At this time, Mars presents a fully-illuminated face (like a Full Moon), and is also at about its closest approach to Earth.  For these reasons, Mars appears brighter here than at any other point in its orbit.

If you wish to view illustrations for other episodes, please see our Star Gazer Illustrated directory.

Illustrations on this page were created using TheSky Astronomy Software, an advanced desktop planetarium program designed for Windows.

Copyright 1999-2006 by Software Bisque, Inc.