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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 4°24' of each other. The Moon will be 22 days old.

From Fairfield, the pair will be visible in the morning sky, becoming accessible around 01:01, when they rise to an altitude of 7° above your eastern horizon. They will then reach its highest point in the sky at 06:13, 47° above your southern horizon. They will be lost to dawn twilight around 06:59, 46° above your southern horizon.

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The Moon will be at mag -11.8; and Mars will be at mag 0.9. Both objects will lie in the constellation Virgo.

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

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Magnitude Angular Size
The Moon 12h29m40s -05°41' Virgo -11.8 30'42"7
Mars 12h35m20s -01°31' Virgo 0.9 6"5

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0. The pair will be at an angular separation of 85° from the Sun, which is in Sagittarius at this time of year.

The sky on 25 December 2013
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

22-day old moon
Waning Crescent


22 days old

Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 07:16 11:44 16:12
Venus 08:46 13:37 18:29
Moon 23:48 05:40 11:32
Mars 00:14 06:12 12:10
Jupiter 17:18 00:51 08:19
Saturn 03:41 08:48 13:55
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.

Related news

04 Jun 2013  –  Mars at apogee
02 Jan 2014  –  Mars at aphelion
08 Apr 2014  –  Mars at opposition
14 Apr 2014  –  Mars at perigee

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