TES NEWS Volume 4, Number 1, February 1995

Look up! Mars is in the Night Sky

It only comes around every 25 months. That bright red "star" in the constellation Leo this month is the planet Mars. This year, the best time to see Mars is between January 1 and March 15th. It won't be this good again until 1997.

Mars will make its closest approach to Earth on February 11th. It will be "only" 63 million miles away. This astronomical event, known as opposition, provides the best opportunities to see Mars from Earth. On February 11th, Mars will be up all night. Some viewers should be able to see the north polar cap and the dark Africa-shaped feature, Syrtis Major, with a small telescope. Astronomers will be watching the Red Planet to see if any dust storms arise. It is Northern Hemisphere Spring on Mars from now through April.

Oppositions are so important to observing Mars that one in 1894 brought Percival Lowell out from Boston to set up his observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona. For more information about viewing Mars during the 1995 opposition, see the articles listed HERE.

Back to Contents of TES News February 1995

K.S. Edgett, January 1995

Arizona Mars K-12 Education Program / edgett@elvis.mars.asu.edu