In case you hadn’t already picked up on the theme, it is Mars Season, and this means not only are we seeing space mission after space mission reaching the Red Planet, but we’re also seeing Mars high in our skies. To the unaided eye, it appears as one of three bright reddish objects arcing across the sky in the southwest, and if you’ve been watching it these past few weeks, you may have even noticed how its position has slowly changed.
While Mars is impressively bright to the eye, it isn’t impressively detailed when viewed through a telescope. At best you might make out a frozen ice cap and the color variations from hemisphere to hemisphere. Humans, however, are fully capable of imaging details in all that hazy, blurry, mess.
In the late 1800s planetary scientists, like Giovanni Schiaparelli spent significant portions of their life observing Mars. And Antoniadi’s 1894 sketches were taken by science lovers like Percival Lowell as inspiration to both build better telescopes, and in Lowell’s case, to spend hours trying to find canals on Mars. So if you have a moment and clear skies, head outside and look high in the sky, and picture all those rovers and orbiters getting us better images and growing knowledge of this ever-fascinating world.