Moon to Make Rare Pass Over Mars Tonight

Stargazers further north and west will get best view
By John Abell,  Newser User
Posted Dec 23, 2007 4:54 PM CST
An artist rendition released by the European Space Agency on Nov. 28, 2007 shows the main bodies of the solar system -- the Sun, Mercury, Venus, the Earth, from left in foreground, Uranus, Neptune, Saturn,...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Scanning the heavens for a sighting of Santa tonight? Star-gazers will also see the full moon appear to pass just over Mars, which is still glowing a strong yellow-orange color. Skygazers farther north and west will get the best view—especially in the Pacific Northwest, western Canada, and Alaska—where the moon will visibly hide, or "occult," Mars for a short time.

Prime viewing times along the US East Coast will be between 8:40 and 9:10 p.m. EST. On the West Coast, the closest approach will occur between 5:30 and 5:45 p.m. PST. Ironically, this event occurs mere months after a popular Internet prank claiming that the red planet would appear beside the moon, and just as big. (Read more full moon stories.)