In these first several months of 2017, the planet Mars is slowly fading in the western sky after sunset until it reaches conjunction with the Sun on July 26. It will be too close to the Sun to see in the 2-3 weeks before or after this date. From August through the end of the year, Mars will reappear in the eastern morning sky before sunrise and slowly brighten and grow larger. However, the planet will not be close enough to reveal many features in a backyard telescope in 2017.
The Red Planet will next reach opposition on July 28, 2018, and it will be a fine sight in a telescope for the few months before and after this date. So here’s a complete guide to the planet Mars and tips on how to observe it during its next apparition.