Mars to be at its biggest and brightest in 15 years this month

Prepare for Mars at its biggest and brightest.
Prepare for Mars at its biggest and brightest. Photo credit: iStock

Kiwis will see red this July as the night sky is set to stage two rare astrological events.

Over the next two months, Mars will be brighter and bigger than usual, providing Kiwis with their best look at the red planet with an unaided eye.

Mars and Earth line up every two years, but this year is special because Mars will be at its closest to us since 2003.

The celestial event happens roughly only every 17 years, and while it won't be as close as last time - the closest Mars came to Earth in 60,000 years - it promises to be an exciting view.

The best opportunity to see Mars at its most impressive will be July 27 to July 31, where it will be 57.6 million kilometres from Earth, according to NASA.

Stardome will be hosting events throughout July and August to celebrate the occurrence with their Zeiss telescope open for extended hours.

New Zealanders will also be lucky to witness the longest lunar eclipse of the 21st Century, which is expected on July 28.

The total eclipse, which is estimated to last for nearly two hours, occurs when the Sun, Moon and Earth align.

Kiwis will also be able to see a Blood Moon this July.
Kiwis will also be able to see a Blood Moon this July. Photo credit: AAP

When the moon moves into the deepest part of the Earth's shadow, the moon gains a red tint, giving it the nickname 'Blood Moon'.

Only the Eastern Hemisphere, including most of Africa, Asia, Europe, Australia and New Zealand, will have the chance to see the eclipse.


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