While I like to follow astronomy news in a casual way, we don't own a telescope and our viewing of the sky is generally limited to eclipses, comets, and meteor showers. I was already aware that, although being quite bright, Mars would still just look like a large star in the sky. Without mechanical aid, we cannot see any detail of its surface and it doesn't even have the advantage of quick movement to make it more exciting. Our binoculars, which work admirably for viewing the moon during eclipses, are of little use for a distant object like the red planet.
I was therefore surprised when I happened to look out my bathroom window several nights ago and saw, through a reticulated cloudy sky, the full moon and the nearby planet Mars. No stars were visible, but those two celestial bodies glowed like beacons between the clouds, and Mars even appeared pink. It was a breathtaking sight.