This image shows the star constellations Ursa, Leo and Virgo, with the position of Mars, the moon and the bright star Spica noted.  It is set against a dark sky background with Earth (trees) in the foreground.  The star constellations are marked by white lines and dots.  Mars is a small reddish dot, while the Moon appears bigger and also red.

April 9, 2014

On April 14, 2014, Mars will make a close approach to Earth. Mars’ brightness will match the star Sirius, which is the brightest of all the stars. The planet will be in the constellation Virgo, 6 degrees north/north-east of the bright star Spica.

As a coincidence, on the same night that Mars is closest to Earth, you can see a total lunar eclipse. With Earth’s shadow falling on the full Moon, it will have a reddish color.

Credit

NASA/JPL-Caltech

ENLARGE

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