In December 2007, the Mars closest approach and opposition will occur within a week of each other. This is an exciting time for astronomers and planetary geologists to image and study our planetary neighbor. On December 18, Mars will be the closest it has been in the last two years, reaching a distance of 55 million miles from Earth. This series of images was taken with Hubble's Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 on December 1-7, within two weeks of its December 2007 closest approach. Each image shows the planet rotating about 90 degrees from the next image. This gives astronomers a full-globe look at the Red Planet.
[Top Left] - Mars on Dec. 1, 2007; longitude ~50 degrees
[Top Right] - Mars on Dec. 3, 2007; longitude ~225 degrees
[Bottom Left] - Mars on Dec. 3, 2007; longitude ~320 degrees
[Bottom Right] - Mars on Dec. 7, 2007; longitude ~140 degrees