Autumn Sky sans Milky Way
Mars is seen moving eastward against the background stars. It is growing in size and brightness as Earth is catching up to it on our tracks around the Sun. Our closest approach this year, about 6/10 astronomical unit, occurs on 18 December where Mars appears as a ~15.9" diameter disk. On the 24 December, Mars is at its brightest of magnitude -1.6 when opposition occurs. Mars will still be with in the constellation Gemini. The alignment is Sun, Earth, and Moon. This means that Mars is rising as the Sun sets, just like a Full Moon.