Mars was closer to Earth than at point in the past 17 years last night - and our talented photographers made sure they made the most of the opportunity.

The Red Planet was the second brightest object in the night sky after the Moon, according to astronomers, and some members of the Watford Observer Camera Club ventured out to capture the moment.

The planet was at its point of opposition, with the Earth passing directly between it and the Sun and appeared "effectively as a full Mars", according to NASA.

Watford Observer:

Robb Cross captured this image of the Red Planet

It was visible with the naked eye and appeared slightly reddish in colour.

Mars reaches its closest point to Earth every two years, but not every close approach is equal, with distances varying by millions of miles even during the closest points.

The two planets aren't on an exactly circular orbit - so every 15 or 17 years the gap gets a little bit closer - this year Mars came 38.6 million miles from Earth.

This was the closest approach since 2003 when Mars was 34 million miles away - the closest in 60,000 years. It won't be that close again until 2287.

The next time Mars and the Earth will be as close as it is this year will be in 2035 - around the time NASA hopes to send astronauts to the Red Planet.