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Spot Mars in the Night Sky Before It Disappears

•, Staff
 Curiosity landed on Mars on Aug. 5, and lucky for night sky observers, the planet has also been putting on something of a cosmic show.
Currently, Mars appears low in the western sky shortly after sunset, but it will be increasingly more difficult to spot the Red Planet as we approach the end of the year.
"Mars will continue to be an evening object right on through the end of this year; it will indeed be dropping lower into the evening twilight but this process will be very slow," said Joe Rao,'s night sky columnist.
Eventually, Marswill drop too low for us to see it in the evening sky, but for now, keen observers with telescopes may be able to pick out the Red Planet in the western sky.
"Not until late January will low altitude and the increasingly bright twilight sky finally render it invisible from our view," Rao explained.
Through a telescope, observers should be able to differentiate between these three cosmic bodies because of their colors.

"Saturn appears golden, Spica is blue-white, and Mars is rusty red," Jones explained.

On Aug. 21, the moon will pass near Mars, Saturn and Spica, which may help some observers spot the trio. The next time the moon will shine close to Mars will be on the evening of Sept. 19, Rao said.

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