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The Region

Mars Is Ready for Its Close-Up

August 26, 2003|Usha Lee McFarling

Tonight, Mars will be closer to Earth than it has been for nearly 60,000 years, providing an excellent opportunity for viewing.

Right now, the Red Planet is unmistakable. It is the brightest object in the sky other than the moon. Mars rises at about 9 p.m. low in the southeast, is visible in the southern sky near midnight and is low in the southwest sky before dawn.

The planet's details, including its polar caps, are visible only through a telescope.

The Griffith Observatory and local amateur astronomers are holding a free, public Mars "closest approach" viewing party with telescopes tonight from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. at the observatory satellite at 4800 Western Heritage Way, in Griffith Park near the Los Angeles Zoo.

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