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Best View of Mars in a Decade

Mars, photo by NASA
During the last weeks of May and the first weeks of June, Mars will be bright and quite noticeable in the evening and early morning sky. In fact, this will likely be the best view you'll have of the planet in a decade! The last time Mars was this bright was during the the Martian opposition of November 2005.
 
Over the next few weeks Mars will be found rising in the southeast after sunset and setting in the southwest before sunrise. As with all planets, the best time to view Mars with a telescope is when it is highest in the sky.
 
Known as the red planet, Mars does appear in the sky with a bright, easily seen orange-yellow tint. With a modest-size telescope, or even binoculars, the orange color is even more pronounced.
 
With a telescope, and with good viewing conditions, you might be able to see a few vague lines on the planet, and perhaps even a tiny white polar cap. Although the bright, white ice at the north polar region of Mars is currently shrinking, this polar region is now tilted 12 degrees toward the Earth.
 
The next close approach of Mars will be in July 2018.
 
Link to Additional Information:

News: Cornell University. "Ancient Tsunami Evidence on Mars Reveals Life Potential." 2016 May 19:
http://www.rdmag.com/news/2016/05/ancient-tsunami-evidence-mars-reveals-life-potential

Source: Glenn A. Walsh Reporting for SpaceWatchtower, a project of Friends of the Zeiss. 2016 May 21.

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