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Mars! Mars! Mars!

We’re 1 week away from Mars’ 2018 opposition, best appearance of Mars since 2003. It’s extremely bright and very red, ascending in the east each evening now, crossing the sky for the rest of the night. Photos from the EarthSky community here.

Mars, from Tucson Arizona on July 19, 2018. Eliot Herman wrote: “Mars is bright and dominates the sky as it approaches its close opposition. Finally a clear night without monsoon clouds. This is a stack of images (every 5 minutes) acquired immediately after moonset, assembled and adjusted in Photoshop. Click here for a deconvoluted version showing more stars. Nikon D850 20.0 mm f/1.4.

Mars on July 14, from Johnnyxbox Childers, who wrote: “Bright Mars captured in the wee minutes of Saturday, while practicing new photographic techniques.”

Kym Baldwin captured this image on July 14, 2018 at Cape May, New Jersey. Mars is the bright object on the left. Kym wrote: “We spent a an evening on the beach in Cape May shooting the Milky Way. It’s humbling being able to see something so great dance over our heads.”

Watch for the moon to sweep past both Saturn and Mars in the last week of July 2018. Read more.

Jim Powell wrote: “Mars at 3 a.m. July 15, 2018. Only 12 days away from opposition, and it looks like those dust storms are starting to calm down a little bit. I’m seeing more detail today than I did 9 days ago when I last observed Mars.” Click here for updates on the Opportunity rover on Mars; it went silent in June due to Mars dust.

Matt Pollack captured Mars from Little Tupper Lake in the Adirondacks of upstate New York. Read more about this photo.

Linda Cook in Manzanita, Oregon, caught a meteor appearing to point toward Mars on July 12, 2018. It’s meteor season, by the way! EarthSky’s meteor guide is here.

The Antarctic Report on Facebook posted this photo on July 14, 2018, and wrote: “Homage to Mars! Only 16 days to its closest approach to Earth since 2003 … one of the rare times the red planet becomes brighter than Jupiter in our skies. This photo, looking across the sea ice from McMurdo Station, by Stephen Allinger, NSF.” Note the view here is reversed from most of the photos on this page, which show Mars to the left of the Milky Way. In this photo from Antarctica, it appears to the right.

Gary Peltz – who is on a 3-week road trip – wrote on July 11: “What a fantastic night it was after hitting 104 F yesterday! This is Whiskeytown Lake just west of Redding, California, last night. Mars rising big and bright lower left and reflecting in the water.”

Here’s why Mars is so bright now. Earth is the blue dot. Mars is the red dot. We’re about to pass between Mars and the sun, so the distance between our 2 worlds is small now. The exact date of the Mars opposition is July 27, 2018.

Reginald Solomon wrote on July 6, 2018: “A bright, but mostly featureless Mars due to the global dust storm. Through the eyepiece, Mars was bold and bright, with minor hints of albedo features near the poles. I created a composite image from three separate observations to illustrate the impact of the current storm on planet detail and the increasing size of the planet as it nears opposition and perigee.”

Raul Cortes in Monterrey, Mexico, captured the constellation Scorpius, the famous Teapot asterism in the constellation Sagittarius, Saturn, and Mars on July 10.

Peter Ryan wrote on July 8, 2018: “I went out to grab a picture of the Milky Way on the coast of Rhode Island over in Newport. When I got done I noticed the red dot on the lower left and couldn’t believe my eyes that it was Mars.”

Dennis Chabot wrote on July 8, 2018: “Mars this morning. It’s very bright now and big in the sky.” Notice that it’s also red in color. The brightness and red color will let you identify Mars fairly easily. Watch for it in the east – in the direction opposite the sunset – in mid-evening or later. Mars will be in the west at dawn.

Deidre Horan in Dublin, Ireland, caught Mars setting in the west on the morning of July 7, 2018.

Nikolaos Pantazis in Peloponnisos, Greece, caught bright Mars rising in the east in mid-evening – along with the Milky Way – on July 6, 2018. In this photo, Mars is the bright object on the left, above the ridge of the mountain.

Peter Lowenstein in Mutare, Zimbabwe, caught the moon and Mars setting on the morning of July 1, 2018. The bright dot near the horizon is Jupiter. For about 2 months – around July 7 to September 7 – Mars will supersede Jupiter in brightness. Read more.

Bottom line: Photos of Mars in July 2018 from the EarthSky community.

Want to see Mars? Try this post

Or try EarthSky’s guide to the bright planets

Deborah Byrd