It’s not every day you get to watch a planetary ice cap melt, but this month you can. All you need are clear skies, a backyard telescope, and a sky map leading to Mars. Actually, you won’t need the sky map because Mars is so bright and easy to find. Just look south between midnight and dawn on any clear night this month. Mars is that eye-catching red star, outshining everything around it. It’s getting brighter every night as Earth and Mars converge for a close encounter on August 27th.