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Celestial home run: Mars opposition, Blue Moon happening this weekend

Май 22, 2016    
Celestial home run: Mars opposition, Blue Moon happening this weekend

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Get ready space enthusiasts; it’s going to be a good weekend to look to the sky!

Stargazers will be treated to a celestial double whammy this weekend with a Blue Moon on Saturday and Mars opposition on Sunday.

Typically there are three full moons in a season, but this spring there will be four full moons. According to Accuweather.com, every few years when there are four full moons in one season, the third full moon of is dubbed a “Blue Moon.” You know, like the saying "once in a Blue Moon."

While the moon won’t actually be blue on Saturday evening, having four full moons in a season only happens every few years, and the next Blue Moon won’t happen until the winter of 2017-18, on Jan. 31, 2018, according to Accuweather. Catch it while you can!

On the heels of the Blue Moon, Mars will be making a special appearance in our sky on Sunday night as it gets closer to Earth than it’s been for over a decade, EarthSky reports.

The red planet will be unusually bright in the night sky from dusk through the evening as it reaches a point in its orbit called "opposition.” An opposition happens about every two years, when Mars and the sun are on directly opposite sides of Earth, according to NASA.

“From our perspective on our spinning world, Mars rises in the east just as the sun sets in the west,” NASA said in a statement. “Then, after staying up in the sky the entire night, Mars sets in the west just as the sun rises in the east. Since Mars and the sun appear on opposite sides of the sky, we say that Mars is in "opposition."

According to NASA, some oppositions bring Earth closer to Mars than others. The 2003 opposition was the closest in almost 60,000 years, according to the statement.

“We'll still have bragging rights for awhile,” NASA said. “Our 2003 record will stand until August 28, 2287!”

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