View of Mars as seen from Earth looking past the Sun on 5 December 2008. Mars is a tiny dot just to the left of the Sun's atmosphere. This image clearly illustrates the path that line-of-sight radio signals must travel - through the Sun's turbulant atmosphere - between Mars Express and the Earth.
Graphic generated by Mars Express mission controllers at ESOC, the European Space Operations Centre, using Celestia.
NEVER look at the Sun using a standard telescope.