November 2005: There's more to observe than Mars this month - although the Red Planet certainly deserves the spotlight. Watch Venus and Mercury ply the evening twilight, and see an unstable star's flare-ups.
The fierce orange "star" rising in the eastern sky after sunset would have worried our distant ancestors. Shining more brightly than Jupiter, a Mars like this undoubtedly was perceived as a threatening sign from the heavens. Thanks to science and spacecraft visits, the only true message its appearance bears is "watch me." Mars will not be as big and bright again until 2018.