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Explanation of the illusion

Since the Earth travels faster in its orbit that do the superior planets, it overtakes and passes them at times during their mutual orbits around the Sun

As the Earth begins to overtake Mars, Mars will appear to slow its eastward motion among the stars

Then just as the Earth overtakes it, Mars will appear to loop slightly westward for a short time.

Once the Earth is well past Mars, that planet will resume its eastward motion among the stars

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