Mars Approaches Opposition.

Mars is approaching Opposition.
As a result the distance between The Red Planet and Earth is decreasing, so the apparent size is getting bigger.
It reaches opposition on the 8th of December, when The Moon will also move in front of it (an occultation).
More details about this later.

As the disk gets bigger, it makes it a bit easier to view and image features on the planets surface.
Mars is high up in Taurus as well, so that really helps, keeping the planet clear of most of the clag in the atmosphere lower down.

It still has a fairly small disk compared to Jupiter and Saturn, but you can quite clearly see the north polar cap and the dark triangular-shaped feature of Syrtis Major in my image of the gibbous phase below, taken on the 8th of September 2022.

My images below taken under varying conditions, were taken in August.
This shows progress in growth even over just a month.

How big is Mars going to get?
I have used Stellarium to create the diagram below to show just how big Mars will get over the next few months and the changing of its phase, as the angle to The Sun changes.

In December the disk will be about the same size as Saturn’s.
But you do have to be quick!
The distance increases rapidly in the new year, so by February it will be almost half that size, making features much more difficult to make out.

Here’s to a good Mars apparition, and let’s hope we have some good clear skies for us to view it.



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