So if you're out for an evening walk during this holiday season, you might notice that Mars is the brightest star in the sky. Today, it's the closest it will be to the Earth until 2016. This photo was taken by the Hubble telescope recently. Space.com has links to some videos and tips on viewing the red planet. Here's an excerpt from their article.
The red planet is now the brightest "star" in the evening sky, easily visible by mid-evening until dawn. It comes closest to the Earth today at 6:46 p.m. EST, when it will be 54,783,381 miles (88,165,305 kilometers) from us.So if your kids or houseguests are getting a little rowdy over the holidays, send them outside to check out the skyscape. There's nothing like a nice walk on a winter evening to unwind those tense holiday-ready muscles. Or, if you're in a horse-drawn carriage, you might feel as Robert Frost did.
Mars looks like an orange star to the naked eye, but it's revealed as a disk with many features in modest telescopes. It will put on a good show all month.
Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
Robert Frost (1874-1963)