If you have any interest in astronomy, you won't
want to miss the opportunity to view Mars tonight
as it completes its closest approach to Earth in
60,000 years. From the U.S. eastern seaboard, Mars
rises at dusk and is well over treetops by midnight.
The new moon tonight will make the skies nice and
dark. Mars is so bright now that you can't miss
it as long as there is not thick overcast. If you're
lucky, you'll spot the white south polar ice cap.
Anything less than about a 6" telescope won't
reveal much other than a bright red disk, so don't
expect NASA quality images. Many years ago, when
I had an 8" Newtonian on an equatorial mount, I
was able to see the polar ice cap line, but never
anyhting like the "canali" observed by Lowell.
Anyway, a good pair of binoculars will turn
up a very bright Mars, enough so that if you stare
at it for a few moments with one eye closed and
then look away, you'll notice how one eye is dark
adapted and one isn't.
Here's a good link
to Sky & Telescope
- Kirt B.