If you've been skywatching for 17 years or more, then you'll remember August 2003, when Mars approached closer to Earth than it had for thousands of years. It was a small percentage closer, but not so much that it was as big as the Moon as some claimed. Mars was an awesome sight: in binoculars, where some large features could be seen, and especially through telescopes. If you are new to stargazing, this month and next will be a great time to check out Mars. Through a telescope, you should be able to make out some of the light and dark features, and sometimes polar ice. In 2018, when Mars and Earth came nearest to each other in their orbits around the Sun, a huge dust storm obscured many features, and less planetary detail was visible. Mars' Closest Approach Ocober 6th is Mars' closest approach. That's when Mars and Earth are nearest to each other in their orbits around the Sun. Mars at Opposition A few days later on October 13th is Mars opposition, when Mars, Earth, and the Sun all line up, with Earth directly in the middle. Although there will be a lot of news focusing on one or the other of these two dates, Mars will be visible for many months. Mars will still be visible after October and November but each month it will shrink in apparent size as it travels farther from Earth in its orbit around the Sun. Stay Tuned!