November 2016 is a great time to find Mars in the early evening sky. Look towards the south and south-west after dark on a clear November evening and you’ll find an orange-red ‘star’ hanging low towards the horizon. Its unmistakable red hue is easy to see with the naked eye and in binoculars. With a moderate-sized telescope and a 10mm lens you should make out Mars as a tiny orange-red disc of light that looks quite different to the surrounding stars.
Mars is a small world. It is just over half the size of Earth. By mid November the Red Planet will be more than 200 million kilometres away from us. At this distance a telescope shows Mars as a mostly featureless red-orange dot. That said, do look out for a slight brightening or whiter patch along the lower limb of the dot, which is the Martian ice cap made up mostly of frozen carbon dioxide.