If you've been wondering this lately, you may very well be seeing the red planet Mars. Once it's above the horizon, it's about the brightest, most easily seen object in the sky. Only the Moon, Venus, Jupiter and the star Sirius are brighter. Mars comes into opposition this year on April 8, meaning that the Earth will be positioned exactly between the planet and the Sun, as shown in the graphic on the left.
Mars takes a little more than twice as long as the Earth to make one orbit around the Sun - both planets come close to each other once every 26 months...
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