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.
Arizona Mars K-12 Education Program / email@example.com