Can You See Mars Without a Telescope?

can-see-mars-telescope Credit: David McNew / Staff/Getty Images News/Getty Images

According to National Geographic, the planet Mars is visible without a telescope on many clear nights. The planets Jupiter, Mercury, Venus and Saturn are also viewable without the aid of magnification.

On most nights, viewers see Mars as a faint star-like light. When it is closest to the earth, it shines brighter than regular stars and has a distinct reddish hue. Dust in the atmosphere of the planet causes the distinct red-orange color. At times, Mars is positioned too close to the line of sight for the sun to be viewed easily. Peak times for viewing Mars run in a two-year cycle. A modest telescope allows viewers to see Mars in more detail.