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.
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.
a good link to Sky & Telescope
- Kirt B.