At the end of July 2018, Mars makes its closest approach to Earth since the memorable opposition of 2003. This summer sees the Red Planet big and bright, low in the south around 1am BST, but now’s the time to train your eye to detect prominent Martian surface features – dust storms permitting! We present our interactive Mars Mapper to help plan your observations.
Bright, frosty polar caps, and clouds above a vivid, rust-coloured landscape reveal Mars as a dynamic seasonal planet in this NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope view taken on 12 May 2016, when Mars was 50 million miles from Earth. The image reveals details as small as 20 to 30 miles across. On 30 May, Mars will be the closest it has been to Earth in 11 years.