Just How Close Is Mars?

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By By Steve Pool

SEATTLE - Make sure you go outside and get a good look at Mars -- today marks the planet's closest encounter it's had with Earth in 60,000 years. As you read this, the Red Planet is a mere 34,646,418 miles away -- give or take a few miles.

You can find Mars at just about any point during the night -- it'll rise in the southeastern sky at about 9 p.m. and be rising across the southern sky. Just look for the bright red dot -- or better yet, grab some binoculars or a telescope for prime viewing.

Mars will be the brightest object in the sky though most of the night, as the moon is new and Venus and the bright star Sirius will be below the horizon.

Mars and Earth have similar ~34.6 million-mile close encounters every 79 years, but this encounter takes the prize by a nose.

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