An eclipse-like event will cause Mars to vanish from the sky over North America early Tuesday morning in a rare event known to astronomers as a lunar occultation.

Similar to an eclipse when the Earth, moon and sun fall in line, during an occultation, the Earth, moon and a planet align. As a result, the Red Planet will be hidden from sight as it appears to pass directly behind the moon during Tuesday’s event.

The planet Venus is visible on top of the moon as viewed from Quezon City, north of Manila, Philippines on Sunday, May 16, 2010. The rare occurence is called the Venus planetary occultation by the thin crescent moon. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

“A lunar occultation involving a planet is a rare event,” AccuWeather Astronomy Blogger

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