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Mars and the Twins  The path of Mars against the background stars of Gemini from September 2007 to May 2008, shown at 15-day intervals. The planet described a typical 'loop' movement, moving up to 3.6 North of the ecliptic (the plane of the Earth's orbit), resulting in a Northward-facing loop. The size of Mars in this diagram represents the changing apparent size of its disk as seen from Earth (the size of Mars here is greatly exaggerated). In 2007, Mars reached opposition on December 24th (at the centre of the retrograde stage of the loop, where the planet appears largest). The Sun traverses this section of the ecliptic from about June 11th to July 22nd, i.e. around high summer in the Northern hemisphere.

Copyright  Martin J Powell  November 2006