Pull out your telescope and look to the skies above, for this is a good time to see the planet Mars as the famous “Red Planet” is near what’s called “opposition.” This means that Mars and Earth are close to one another in their orbits around the Sun. (See diagram below.)
It’s called “opposition” because, when viewed from Earth, Mars and the Sun appear at opposite sides of the sky at sunset: on the day of opposition, Mars rises over the eastern horizon just as the sun sets over the western horizon. While the Mars opposition was January 29, 2010, you can get good views of Mars throughout February.
If the star you have named is in the constellation Cancer then you’re in luck, for Mars is in the constellation Cancer as well for the next few months: If you find Mars, then you’ve found the constellation Cancer! Mars appears as a rather bright, reddish-orange object in the eastern sky during the first few hours after sunset this month.
If you have any trouble finding the planet, just use your Virtual Planetarium™ astronomy software, which is included in our Deluxe, Framed and Ultimate Gift Sets. Also, you can view Mars through the SLOOH online telescope — Name A Star Live is the only name-a-star company to offer SLOOH.
Be sure to take advantage of this opportunity to view the Red Planet as Mars oppositions occur only about once every 26 months.