Mars comes closest to Earth in six and a half years
Researchers have revealed that this month Mars is at its closest to Earth in the past six and a half years.
In the middle two weeks of April, Mars will shine with a brightness of magnitude -1.5, matching the luster of Sirius, and in a telescope it will appear 15.1 arcseconds across.
April 8th is the planet's opposition date: when it's opposite the Sun in the sky. It passes closest to Earth on April 14th (the difference is due to the elliptical shape of Mars's orbit.) But it appears practically the same size and brightness all month.
Mars and Spica cross the sky together from dusk to dawn. For telescope users, Mars is highest in the sky due south around the middle of the night.
(Posted on 04-04-2014)