A good summer to see the planet Mars in NJ
For two months this summer, the planet Mars will be "in opposition," and Rowan University's Edelman planetarium has a big evening planned on July 31.
Edelman Director Amy Barraclough said the Red Planet will be redder.
"Mars is going to be much brighter than what we normally would see it," she said.
The planetarium has an evening of planet-gazing and Mars-centered activities planned. Barraclough said for those seeking Mars in the sky during this "opposition" period, "if you are looking low in the southern sky, you will notice it has that bright red dot."
"It should be very noticeable, just because the color is really going to stand out, compared to the background stars," Barraclough said. "But it is not like we are going to be seeing the planet, you know, super, super close. I know, for years and years and years, anytime Mars hits opposition, we start hearing all of these crazy stories about Mars appearing as big as the full moon. And that has never happened, and will never happen, and if it does, I think that we would have some big problems."
The Edelman Planetarium will be offering several free shows at 8 and 8:30 p.m.
"We will be showing a preview of what the skies are going to look like, so we will help you find some of the individual constellations that are going to be visible this summer, along with how to identify Mars, Venus, Jupiter and Saturn, (which) are also visible in the skies right now as well," Barraclough said.
At 9 p.m. physics and astronomy department chair David Klassen will conduct a talk about Mars, and the research he's doing with Mars clouds.
Speaking of red, a total Lunar eclipse will turn the moon blood red on July 27. But it will only be visible in South America, East Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia.
Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor on New Jersey 101.5