If events of the past 30 years are an indication, there's a good chance that the Martian landscape may soon be cloaked by a major dust storm.
During the predawn hours of Thursday, July 17th, the waning gibbous Moon will cover Mars for skywatchers in southeastern Florida, the Caribbean, and parts of Central and South America.
A large regional dust storm has enveloped several thousand square kilometers of the red planet and shows no signs of abating.
Mars will remain a fiery yellow-orange beacon in the evening sky during the first half of September and will shrink and fade only a little until well into October.
Less than one month after a localized dust storm appeared on the Martian surface, another dust cloud has spring up.
When this innermost planet passes between the Earth and the Sun on May 7th, it will appear as a tiny black "sunspot" in small telescopes.
Every six years, for a few months at a time, Jupiter's satellites engage in a wonderful variety of alignments. They're starting up again.
In 2001 the red planet swung closer to Earth than it had since 1988. It'll be even better in 2003. Here's an observer's guide from the 2001 opposition to whet your appetite for 2003.
Mostly clear skies in Europe, the Far East, and Australia meant that many amateurs were able to view this rare event.
Fast-moving Mercury can be elusive. But spotting this sparkling little planet is easy if you know where and when to look.
With our detailed charts, you'll be able to locate the outer planets Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto the rest of the year.
During the predawn hours of March 5th and 6th, watch as Mars glides between a close pair of nebulae the Lagoon (M8) and the Trifid (M20).
The waning crescent Moon helps point the way to Mars, Venus, and Mercury before sunrise on Monday through Wednesday mornings.
The crescent Moon forms two beautiful conjunctions with the two brightest planets during twilight Wednesday and Thursday.
July's encounters with two 12th-magnitude stars could rewrite the textbooks on the Pluto-Charon system.
The grand and beautiful planetary lineup is drawing to a close as Venus approaches Jupiter in the western sky at dusk.
Sharp-eyed amateurs have an opportunity to observe a rare phenomenon on another planet and help solve a long-standing puzzle.