Celestial Lineup Makes For A Very Bright Mars

When Mars is "in opposition," it, Earth and the sun are all in alignment. (Note: This is a diagram meant to illustrate the concept of opposition. It is not drawn to scale.)

Mars, Earth and the sun have lined up, a celestial orientation known as opposition. This is particular opposition occurs at a time when the orbit of Mars takes it closest to the sun.

(Image credit: Alyson Hurt/NPR)