As you catch a glimpse of the full "blood moon" in the night sky over South Jersey this weekend, you may notice what looks to be a reddish star to the left of the moon.  Only that's no star -- that's Mars.

Until August 3, Mars will be at its brightest since 2003 because it will be closer to earth, boosting our ability to view the red planet.

According to earthsky.org....

Earth and Mars both orbit the sun, but because Earth is closer to the sun, it orbits at a quicker pace than the red planet. About every two years, when Mars reaches the portion of its orbit known as "opposition," it is precisely opposite the sun, at least from Earth's point of view. In essence, Mars and Earth create a straight line from each other, with the sun in the middle. This phenomenon will occur on July 27, 2018.

The "opposition" orbit will bring Mars the closest it has been to Earth since 2003, when it was about 34.7 billion miles (56 million kilometers) from Earth. On July 27, 2018, Mars will be 35.8 billion miles (57.6 kilometers) from Earth, according to calculations by NASA.

SOURCE: Earthsky.org

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