Do you want to see Mars up close

Have you ever dreamed of what Mars would look like it if you could see it up close?

Well, now we have an opportunity while Earth and Mars are actually approaching each other about as closely as planetary cousins get to each other!  What this means for you is, that if you have any reasonably sized telescope, you will be able to see fantastic images of Mars, even from your own backyard!

If you don’t believe me – just take a look outside.  That bright red star that rises out of the eastern sky at dusk – that is not a star, it is Mars.  At the moment, it is the brightest object in the sky apart for the Sun and Moon, so this makes it a particularly attractive option for all of us bedding astronomers.

You can see Mars with your own eyes!

The reason Mars is so bright in the night sky is that it has orbited to a position of “opposition” which just means it is currently on the opposite side of Earth from the Sun.  This is no great coincidence, as this opposition orbit occurs once every two years, due to the timing of the orbits of Earth and Mars.  This particular orbital alignment is one of the closest that has occurred in 11 years, and this is why the beautiful red star is much bigger and brighter than usual.  Normally Venus is our shining light in the evening (hence the name evening star) and recently Jupiter has been the dominant viewing attraction, both of which appear very bright and very white in our evening sky.

But now, the attraction is the unmistakable bright red “star” which for those who recognize the unique coloration, will instantly be able to identify as the Martian planet.

Keep your telescope skyward if you want to see Mars

The best news is that if you can see Mars easily with the naked eye, can you imagine what it will look like through a telescope?  Well now is one of the best opportunities you will get to have a close up view!

What if I only have a small telescope?

Yes you will need a telescope to see Mars from your own backyard, or if you have a portable telescope, then you will get even better views of the Martian planet if you can find a pristine location away from the bright lights of the city.

But never fear – even if you only have small telescope, or even if you don’t have the most pristine viewing conditions, the close proximity of Mars will mean that you can still get excellent views of the red planet.

And here is a picture of where you can find Mars in the evening sky:

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If you train your telescope towards Mars in the evening, even with a small telescope, you will get an excellent view of the circular disc of Mars.  Because Mars is in opposition with the Sun, it will be a bit like a full moon, with the red planet fully lit up by the Sun, and reflecting an extremely bright red image.  If you can afford a slightly larger telescope, then you will open up a whole new range of possibilities, and maybe you will even be able to observe details on the surface of the planet and maybe even the polar cap.

The best time to observe the red planet will be during the Mars Close Approach.

According to NASA, Mars will be approach Earth a distance of 75.3 million kilometers which is excellent for viewing the planet from Earth, but not quite as close as the closest it ever comes is about 55 million kilometers.

Still, this is an excellent opportunity for astronomers of all ages, and an excellent time to encourage your kids to get outside and set up the telescope, or maybe buy a telescope suitable for the kids to begin their appreciation of the wonders of the universe!


Just Imagine what it would be like to see mars up close!  Click here to read our telescope reviews.


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4 Responses to “Do you want to see Mars up close”

  1. CurtisAget

    Mar 09. 2017

    I really love the independent telescope reviews on this website.
    they don’t presume that I am already an expert, and it is written so that I can understand all the telescope lingo!
    Thanks, and keep those telescopes coming!

    Reply to this comment
  2. RichardSt

    Mar 09. 2017

    I really appreciate the easy to read and useful telescope information.
    these reviews are really detailed and just what I need to know to make a decision to buy a telescope!

    Reply to this comment
  3. RumiTest

    Jul 06. 2017

    Hello. This is a very interesting article about Mars, and I am interested to buy a telescope!

    Reply to this comment
  4. MerlinTah

    Jul 25. 2017

    It will be interesting to finally see Mars up closer one day, but I think I will settle for my best telescope!

    Reply to this comment

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