At this time, Mars has passed its closest approach to Earth. For practical purposes, it’s viewing size is still at the maximum. So, for a few weeks, we can enjoy the best possible views of our neighbor. Afterwards, we begin a 15-year period without a close encounter.
I have made several recent observations with my 10” reflecting telescope. Because Mars is still experiencing a global dust storm, I could see some dark areas, but they were vaguely defined. The southern polar ice cap, however, was visible. Its white color makes a striking contrast to the rest of the planet.
I am enjoying naked-eye views of Mars almost as much telescopic views. Around midnight, Mars is very bright and very red. On several recent nights, I enjoyed this spectacle, although I didn’t have time to set up the telescope.
Keep looking up!
Here are some recent comments from observers: