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Close approach of Mars and NGC 6530

Dominic Ford, Editor
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The sky at

Mars and NGC6530 will make a close approach, passing within 0°11' of each other.

From Cambridge however, the pair will not be observable – they will reach their highest point in the sky during daytime and will be no higher than 10° above the horizon at dusk.

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Mars will be at mag 1.2; and NGC6530 will be at mag 4.6. Both objects will lie in the constellation Sagittarius.

They will be close enough to fit within the field of view of a telescope, but will also be visible through a pair of binoculars.

A graph of the angular separation between Mars and NGC6530 around the time of closest approach is available here.

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

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Magnitude Angular Size
Mars 18h04m30s -24°33' Sagittarius 1.2 4"4
NGC6530 18h04m30s -24°21' Sagittarius 4.6 15'00"0

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0. The pair will be at an angular separation of 34° from the Sun, which is in Libra at this time of year.

The sky on 18 November 2012
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

5-day old moon
Waxing Crescent


5 days old

Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 06:27 11:21 16:14
Venus 03:57 09:30 15:03
Moon 11:07 16:17 21:26
Mars 09:32 13:57 18:22
Jupiter 17:09 00:41 08:10
Saturn 04:45 10:07 15:29
All times shown in EST.


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.

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