Cosmic alignment makes Mars 10 times brighter than brightest star

(CNN/NASA) — The sun, Earth and Mars are lining up Tuesday night, and NASA says Mars will rise near sunset and move overhead.

According to, Mars is taking the celestial stage, “in a kind of cosmic preview to the red planet’s closest approach to Earth during a total lunar eclipse later this month.”

It’ll be tough to miss Mars Tuesday night because it will be a bright burnt-orange color — and almost 10 times brighter than the brightest stars in the sky.

Every two years, Mars reaches this point in its orbit — called “opposition” — when it lies directly opposite the sun. That happens once every 26 months with Earth because it’s relatively closer, according to The Baltimore Sun.

This month, Earth and Mars are reportedly at their closest for nearly 6 1/2 half years, appearing bigger and brighter than it has since December 2007.

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