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Observing Mars in Earth's Sky

Most planets, like Mars, can be viewed with the naked eye. The most useful times for viewing are about 40 days before and after opposition. Longer periods will allow the observer to follow the evolution of the meteorology. During the rotation of this bright and fiery-red planet, the orange-red color and features on the planet such as Syrtis Major and Hellas can be seen. The polar caps will appear as brilliant white patches at or close to the poles. Seasonal changes like dust storms will also be apparent. A blue filter can be used to best observe dust storms while an orange filter will bring out details on the Martian surface.

For up-to-date viewing information on Mars and other celestial bodies visit the Skywatcher's Diary.



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