Year's Best Mars View on Wednesday
Red planet to pass closest to Earth
For the past few months Mars has appeared at night as a ruddy, starlike beacon rising in the east.
On January 27 Mars will pass within 61 million miles (98 million kilometers) of Earth—close enough for well-equipped sky-watchers to make out details on the Martian surface.
"With a small telescope of about 6 inches (15.2 centimeters), the polar ice caps and other surface features are visible," said Raminder Singh, staff astronomer at the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre in Vancouver, British Columbia.
(Related: "Mars Pole Holds Enough Ice to Flood Planet, Radar Study Shows.")
"Even a pair of binoculars will show it as a disk, as