Mars to appear bright in night sky during close approach to Earth

Mars will be bright in the night sky Tuesday as the Red Planet makes its closest approach to Earth until 2022, according to NASA.

On Tuesday, Mars will be about 38.6 million miles from Earth, the closest it will be until December 2022. At the same time, Mars will be directly opposite of the Earth from the sun, meaning the Red Planet will be at its brightest, according to NASA.

Mars only comes near enough to make for exceptional viewing once or twice every 15 or so years.

Earlier this month, officials said Mars will be visible throughout October, making it a great month to spot the planet.

“Simply go outside and look up and, depending on your local weather and lighting conditions, you should be able to see Mars,” NASA officials said. “Mars will be visible for much of the night in the southern sky and is at its highest point at about midnight.”

Earth and Mars have elliptical orbits around the sun that put them as near as 33.9 million miles apart -- though NASA officials said that is rare. In 2003, Mars made its closest approach to Earth in nearly 60,000 years. The two planets were just under 35 million miles apart, according to NASA.