This month Mars will make its closest approach to the Earth since 2007, coming to within 92.4 million km of us on the 14th. At that time, six days after opposition, Mars will be an inviting target in Virgo, shining brilliantly at magnitude -1.5. Leonard Ellul Mercer took his first photograph of Mars for this apparition on March 18 at 20:44 UT with a DMK21 CCD camera attached to his Celestron 11 telescope (above). For more information about the current apparition of Mars see The Big Bang No. 106, page 10.