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.