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Mars, Earth and Moon align to create an eclipse-like event

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PEORIA (WEEK)- Set your alarm for 6:00 a.m. Tuesday because if skies are clear enough you can see Mars.

The moon rises between 2:00 a.m. and 2:30 a.m. Over a few hours, Mars will near closer to the moon until the Earth, moon and Mars are all aligned. Mars will then disappear behind the moon but will reappear before sunrise.

Both, Mars and the moon, will be bright, so you do not need binoculars or a telescope to see the event. Astronomers, like Kyle Denny from the Peoria Riverfront Museum, call this event a "lunar occultation".

Denny said, "An occultation is simply what happens when you have one celestial body going in front of another. It is a fairly straightforward process. It is going to last an hour long."

Denny added, "The moon and the planet, Mars, do this once or twice every year, so it is not too terribly common, but it does happen."

If skies are too cloudy Tuesday morning, there is an even rarer astronomical event on December 21, 2020. This event has not happened in a couple thousand years, and it involves the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn.


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