Rare cosmic event: Sun, Earth and Mars line up

Skywatchers were in for a rare celestial treat on Tuesday night when Mars, Earth and the sun arranged in a nearly straight line.

The rare cosmic occurrence is called “an opposition” because Mars and the Sun are on opposite sides of the sky.
Oppositions between Earth and Mars take place about every 26 months. The celestial treat comes just seven days ahead of the Red Planet’s closest approach to Earth on the night of April 14. There will also be a total lunar eclipse occurring on the same day.

It is interesting to note that Mars completes an orbit around the sun in 687 days as compared to the Earth, which is closer to the sun and takes 365 days.

These differences mean an opposition is rare, occurring about once every couple of years.