Earth's View of Mars Will Temporarily Disappear This Month
On February 18, the planet will be covered by the moon for 14 seconds.
If you like gazing at planets and the starry sky during the nighttime, there may be something missing when you peer out next week. According to Mental Floss, Mars will be out of view from Earth for 14 seconds on February 18. This will apparently happen five times in 2020 as reported by Sky & Telescope, but next week's instance will mark the only time that we can see it in action from our planet.
Our view of Mars will be blocked as the moon covers the planet, which is called a lunar occultation. As the moon rotates, it will come between Earth and Mars, preventing our view of the "Red Planet" for the almost 15-second period. Mars will be completely back in view after about 90 minutes later, as it makes its way away from the moon.
For those looking to see this out-of-this-world phenomenon in action, you'll want to look up at different times depending on where you live. East coast residents can catch it at 7:36:37 a.m. on February 18, while those on the west coast should plan to wake up early—you'll need to head outside at 4:37:27 a.m. to see it all occur.
The moon covering Mars is called immersion,, and the red and orange planet appearing again afterwards is called emersion. If you prefer to witness the emersion action to get more sleep in the morning, it will take about an hour and a half after the immersion takes place to see Mars back in sight.