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Close approach of the Moon and Mars

Dominic Ford, Editor
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The sky at

The Moon and Mars will make a close approach, passing within 2°01' of each other. The Moon will be 3 days old.

From Seattle, the pair will be difficult to observe as they will appear no higher than 10° above the horizon. They will become visible around 18:33 (PST) as the dusk sky fades, 10° above your south-western horizon. They will then sink towards the horizon, setting 1 hour and 45 minutes after the Sun at 19:57.

Begin typing the name of a town near to you, and then select the town from the list of options which appear below.

The Moon will be at mag -10.6, and Mars at mag 1.2, both in the constellation Ophiuchus.

The pair will be too widely separated to fit within the field of view of a telescope, but will be visible to the naked eye or through a pair of binoculars.

At around the same time, the two objects will also share the same right ascension – called a conjunction.

A graph of the angular separation between the Moon and Mars around the time of closest approach is available here.

The positions of the two objects at the moment of closest approach will be as follows:

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Magnitude Angular Size
The Moon 16h24m40s -20°33' Ophiuchus -10.6 32'56"9
Mars 16h24m10s -22°35' Ophiuchus 1.2 4"6

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0. The pair will be at an angular separation of 42° from the Sun, which is in Virgo at this time of year.

The sky on 18 October 2012
Sunrise
07:32
Sunset
18:14
Twilight ends
19:57
Twilight begins
05:49

3-day old moon
Waxing Crescent

13%

3 days old

Planets
Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 09:47 14:19 18:51
Venus 04:07 10:36 17:05
Moon 11:42 16:08 20:33
Mars 11:28 15:43 19:58
Jupiter 20:26 04:18 12:07
Saturn 07:58 13:18 18:38
All times shown in PDT.

Source

The circumstances of this event were computed using the DE405 planetary ephemeris published by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

This event was automatically generated by searching the ephemeris for planetary alignments which are of interest to amateur astronomers, and the text above was generated based on an estimate of your location.

Related news

03 Mar 2012  –  Mars at opposition
08 Apr 2014  –  Mars at opposition
22 May 2016  –  Mars at opposition
26 Jul 2018  –  Mars at opposition

Image credit

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Seattle

Latitude:
Longitude:
Timezone:

47.61°N
122.33°W
PST

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