Red Planet and Reddish Moon
By Ronald Williams
On Friday night, October 2, the Harvest Moon, made rosy by smoke from fires, glided very close to the red planet Mars at 10:00 PM with only about 1 degree separation. That's less than the width of your pinky finger held at arm's length. Not only were they so close, but Mars was about twice as bright as usual since it's only days away from making its closest approach to Earth on October 6. That makes it dazzling bright red, rivaling Jupiter. On October 13 Mars will reach "opposition," when the Sun, Earth and Mars form a straight line in space. Then it will be exactly opposite from the Sun in Earth's sky: it will rise at sunset, reach its highest point at midnight, then set at sunrise, just opposite of the Sun.