Mars look bigger and brighter than usual? It should

Mars hasn’t been this close to Earth in almost seven years.

nasa mars
Mars is closer to Earth than it has been for nearly seven years and with a 4-inch or larger telescope you may be able to get quite a view.

According to Sky & Telescope in the middle two weeks of April, Mars will shine with a brightness of magnitude -1.5, matching the luster of Sirius - typically the brightest star in the night sky. 

+More on Network World: What is so infinitely cool about Mars?+

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, according to Sky & Telescope.

The Martian northern hemisphere is tipped toward Earth this season, so amateur astronomers are able to track the red planet's North Polar Cap. Backyard observers are already seeing the polar cap recede, exposing a ring of dark ground under its outer parts. 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, according to Sky & Telescope.  Mars is the yellow-orange color of a campfire, while Spica, less bright, shines icy blue-white.

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