Mars has starring role in night sky this month

May 04, 1999|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

The planet Mars assumes a new prominence in the evening sky this month.

On Sunday, Mars passed its closest approach to the Earth since 1990 -- 54 million miles. It appears as a bright, yellow-orange "star" about 25 degrees above the eastern horizon an hour or two after sunset. It will be prominent, but fading all month.

Such close passes occur every 26 months as the Earth passes between the sun and the red planet.

A closer encounter with Mars is slated for 2003.

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