ATLANTA, GA – There is so much going on in the sky right now that it's hard to know what to focus on, but now we recommend that you focus on Mars, the red dot that you may be in Heaven has seen night. It gets brighter at night and reaches resistance against the earth this weekend. The weather forecast in the Atlanta area is good for watching on Saturday night, when we should have a good show.
The weather forecast for Saturday night calls for a cloud-filled sky with a low of about 69.
As NASA explains, "While opposition, Mars and the Sun are directly on opposite sides of the Earth, in our view of our spinning world Mars rises to the east just as the sun sets in the west, then, after remaining in the sky all night, Mars sinks to the west, just as the sun rises in the east: Mars and Sun on opposite sides say, that Mars is in opposition ̵
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Mars and Earth are in opposition about once every two years, but this is a special year because Mars is in perihelion or its next, which only lasts 15 or so years. The last time that Mars was so close was in 2003.
Since both Earth and Mars have elliptical orbits, opposition and the red planet's approach to ours do not always occur simultaneously. According to EarthSky.org, Mars will be closest to Earth at 4:00 am on Tuesday, July 31st.
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Mars moves slower and takes about two Earth years to travel around the Sun, but if they circle in a perfect circular pattern, opposition would occur every year.
The brilliant purple ball is visible since May, but it will be brighter during the resistance than when it makes its next approach. This is due to the angle at which sunlight strikes it.
When Mars came so close to Earth in 2003, a meme circled the Internet, which according to Space.com said it was as big as the Moon. It will probably reappear, but just ignore it. The planet will be big, bright and beautiful, but remember that Mars is half the size of Earth.
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You do not need special equipment such as a telescope or binoculars to see it. Just look up and be blinded. And if you miss it, Mars will continue to be bright for about a month after the opposition.
Delta Aquarids meteor shower also reaches Saturday overnight. Think of it as a dress rehearsal for the more reliable Perseid meteor shower, a typically productive sky show that lasts until August 24th and overnight from the 12th-13th. August 1964.
That means you can always see meteors when you're in the night sky anytime in the next few weeks.
Photo credits: NASA, ESA, the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI / AURA), J. Bell (ASU) and M. Wolff (Space Science Institute)  Get the Atlanta Newsletter