Mars will be visible above Ireland TONIGHT as Red Planet passes closest to Earth in 15 years
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Mars will be visible above Ireland TONIGHT as Red Planet passes closest to Earth in 15 years

MARS is set to be visible in the skies above Ireland on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, with the Red Planet set to pass closer to Earth than it has been at any time in the last 15 years.

The fourth planet from the Sun will come within 35.8 million miles of us tonight - which might not sound "close" in human terms, but is a stone's throw by galactic standards.

Mars can actually be over 200 million miles apart from Earth when its orbit brings it furthest away - so it's pretty close, really.

After sunset, the planet will appear especially bright and should be relatively easy to spot (providing the clouds stay away) thanks to its orange-red hue.

Mars will not come this close again until 2035, so tonight's the night if you want to get a look at it with the naked eye.

But, when and where can I see it?

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Mars will actually be at its closest point to the Earth at around 9am tomorrow morning, but that doesn't mean it'll be easier to spot.

According to Astronomy Ireland, the best time to view the world will be when it is highest in the south - which just so happens to be 1.30am on Wednesday.

"Mars will be closest today, 31 July, but it will be very close for many weeks meaning telescope owners can get superb close-up views for a couple of months at least," said David Moore, editor of Astronomy Ireland magazine.

"Right now, Mars is at its highest in the South around 1:30am and looks like the brightest 'star' in the sky with a definite orange/red colour – I saw it this morning before dawn."