No, this is not a blog post to let you know that Mars will pass closer to Earth than at any point in the history of our solar system in early April. You can find that story circulating on the internet as it does approximately every two years as Mars approaches opposition. This year, Mars will be at opposition on April 8th and will have an apparent diameter of approximately 15" (arcseconds). Currently, Mars is .73 astronomical units from Earth and is 96.7% illuminated with an apparent diameter of 12.74"
A few months ago I purchased my first astronomical camera in order to learn to take planetary images in a run up to this Mars apparition. Mars has always been my favorite planet to observe visually and I want to be able to capture some nice images as well. Two nights ago I was out observing and imaging Jupiter and was impressed with how steady the seeing conditions were. Below is an image of Jupiter I captured with my 11" Celestron Edge SCT and a 1.8x barlow lens.