There's going to be a red light shining in the sky on Christmas Eve — and it's not necessarily the reindeer Rudolph's nose.
Astronomers say the planet Mars, as well as the moon,will shine exceptionally brightly on Monday night because of its positioning relative to the Earth and sun. Mars will sit "in opposition" to the sun, which means itwill bedirectly opposite to it, giving its red surface a brighter than normal reflection to viewers on Earth.
Mars comes into opposition with the sun every 26 months, but it is also currently at its closest to Earth —about64 million kilometres. The planet won't be as noticeable for another nine years, astronomers said. Mars came nearest toEarth on Dec. 18, but is now more visible because of its angle.
The full moon will also be considerably brighter than normal, as it will reacha height — which refers to its angle and not its distance from Earth — not expected again for another 16 years. The moon casts a greater amount of light down onto Earth when it is at greater height.
Mars will appear as a dot of red, orange and gold initially to the left of the moon around and will eventually move to its lower right.