February’s spectacular planetary show continues. After Venus and Jupiter lined up in the night sky last week, the distance between Earth and Mars is now shrinking to its smallest in more than two years.
On March 3 Mars will be in opposition to the sun, providing excellent opportunities for viewing the Red Planet.
The celestial event known as Mars opposition occurs whenever Earth passes between the sun and the Red Planet, approximately once every two years and two months. This makes Mars visible opposite the sun in the Earth’s sky, which is a great time to view the Red planet because the sun’s rays illuminate the full face of Mars. Because the two planets’ orbits regularly bring them close together, it also provides a good time to launch Mars missions such as the recent Mars Science Laboratory.
full article and online viewing instructions @ wired.com