Hey Space Placers!
This is a rare two-in-one-day post but I had to alert you to the Red Planet Mars being at opposition today, March 3, 2012. Mars on this date is directly opposite the Sun which means that it will rise tonight in the east at sunset and be in our sky all night long.
Mars is the brightest "star"-like object in the east and its' distinct reddish-orange color is very distinct. Mars is bright and will adorn our night sky along with Mercury, Jupiter and Venus in the west at sunset.
Mars will be closest to the Earth for this 2012 opposition on March 5th and will be about 62 million miles away. A far cry from 2003 when it was about 35 million miles away.
If you get access to a telescope make sure you observe Mars. A good quality medium-apertue telescope is capable of showing surface features, clouds and the polar caps. Mars is in prime time for observing and will start to recede from Earth and be beyond backyard telescope range after July. So make the most of the upcoming nights....I plan to.
Sky Guy in VA