The best time to view Mars is during the Mars Close Approach, which is when the orbits of Mars and Earth bring the planets closest together. When Mars and Earth make this close approach, Mars can be seen from sunset to sunrise with the naked eye.
The close approach occurs roughly every two Earth years, and it is exceptionally close every 15 to 17 years. Because Earth and Mars have somewhat elliptical orbits and different orbital tilts, the distance between Earth and Mars during the close approach varies. In 2003, Mars made its closest approach to the Earth in nearly 60,000 years.