The Moon in conjunction with Venus and Jupiter, with the Very Large Telescope in the foreground. Image © Y. Beletsky, ESO, 2009.

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°49' of each other. The Moon will be 12 days old.

From Cambridge, the pair will be visible in the evening sky, becoming accessible around 20:11 (EDT) as the dusk sky fades, 38° above your south-eastern horizon. They will then reach its highest point in the sky at 22:01, 44° above your southern horizon. They will continue to be observable until around 03:11, when they sink below 8° above your western horizon.

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The Moon will be at mag -12.5, and Mars at mag -0.9, both in the constellation Virgo.

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 12h32m20s -05°19' Virgo -12.5 30'38"8
Mars 12h35m50s -02°38' Virgo -0.9 13"7

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0. The pair will be at an angular separation of 139° from the Sun, which is in Aries at this time of year.

The sky on 11 May 2014
Sunrise
05:26
Sunset
19:53
Twilight ends
21:49
Twilight begins
03:30

12-day old moon
Waxing Gibbous

87%

12 days old

Planets
Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 06:10 13:48 21:25
Venus 03:54 10:05 16:16
Moon 16:51 22:27 03:32
Mars 16:07 22:01 03:58
Jupiter 09:04 16:37 00:14
Saturn 19:31 00:40 05:46
All times shown in EDT.

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

08 Apr 2014  –  Mars at opposition
22 May 2016  –  Mars at opposition
27 Jul 2018  –  Mars at opposition
13 Oct 2020  –  Mars at opposition

Image credit

The Moon in conjunction with Venus and Jupiter, with the Very Large Telescope in the foreground. Image © Y. Beletsky, ESO, 2009.

Cambridge

Latitude:
Longitude:
Timezone:

42.38°N
71.11°W
EDT

Color scheme