Get your scopes out! Mars aligns with the sun and Earth today in a cosmic event that occurs just once every 26 months. Tonight’s alignment between Mars, the Earth and the sun is called “opposition” because Mars and the sun are opposite to each other in our sky. During opposition, Mars will shine nearly 10 times more brightly than a 1st-magnitude star, and some of the planet’s surface features will show up through backyard telescopes. 

(Image credit: NASA)