Mars is FINALLY showing some detail. It has been looking like a fuzzy blob, but as Earth and Mars get closer, detail is finally beginning to show. Viewing should improve through sometime in December.
This image was taken on 1 Sep 07 03:05:11 UTC with a 14 inch SCT, at about 420 magnification. The dark feature in the center is Syrtis Major.
The Mars Global Surveyor was able to determine that Syrtis Major was a low-relief shield volcano -- until then it was thought that this feature was a Martian plain.
The dark color comes from the basaltic volcanic rock of the region and the relative lack of dust.