Mars clearly visible from the Netherlands throughout October
Calling all stargazers! October is about to get a lot more magical, as NASA has revealed that the planet Mars will be clearly visible throughout the whole month.
Spotting Mars in the Netherlands
Mars should be clearly visible all night throughout October, but is best viewed on Wednesday when the planet is “only” 62,1 million kilometres away from Earth. The last time we got so close to Mars was in 2018 when it was 35,7 million kilometres away, and experts predict it won’t get this close again for at least another 15 years.
Sadly, for keen stargazers in the Netherlands, the sky over the coming days is expected to be overcast, so you might have a hard time spotting Mars. For your best chances, head to an open area with limited light pollution. The planet will be at its highest position on the horizon at around midnight.
If you’re keen to spot more than just Mars, both Jupiter and Saturn will also be visible in the night sky for the rest of 2020.
Stargazing highlights in October
October isn’t only a big month for Mars - there are a number of reasons to turns your eyes to the sky over the coming weeks. It is one of only two months this year that will see two full moons. The first took place on October 1, the Harvest Moon, and the second, commonly known as a blue moon, will come around at the end of the month on October 31.
As well as all that, this month is a great time to whip out your trusty telescope and get a glimpse of the galaxy of Andromeda (also known as M31). Andromeda is a spiral galaxy, very similar to our own Milky Way, containing hundreds of billions of stars - and even more planets.
To find the Andromeda galaxy, wait until it’s completely dark and then look to the northeast and find the sideways “W” - the throne of Queen Cassiopeia. Then, just to the right of Cassiopeia, you’ll see the constellation of Andromeda, above which you’ll spot a faint and fuzzy patch of light - and you’ve found the Andromeda galaxy!