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

Close approach of Mars and Neptune

Dominic Ford, Editor
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The sky at

Mars and Neptune will make a close approach, passing within 0°12' of each other.

From Ashburn, the pair will become visible around 17:58 (EDT) as the dusk sky fades, 23° above your south-western horizon. They will then sink towards the horizon, setting 3 hours and 1 minute after the Sun at 20:15.

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Mars will be at mag 1.2, and Neptune at mag 8.0, both in the constellation Aquarius.

The pair will be close enough to fit within the field of view of a telescope, but will also be visible 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 Mars and Neptune 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
Mars 22h31m20s -10°17' Aquarius 1.2 4"5
Neptune 22h31m00s -10°05' Aquarius 8.0 2"2

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0. The pair will be at an angular separation of 36° from the Sun, which is in Sagittarius at this time of year.

The sky on 19 January 2015
Sunrise
07:25
Sunset
17:14
Twilight ends
18:48
Twilight begins
05:51

28-day old moon
Waning Crescent

0%

28 days old

Planets
Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 08:17 13:29 18:41
Venus 08:38 13:46 18:54
Moon 06:21 11:25 16:29
Mars 09:16 14:45 20:14
Jupiter 18:45 01:46 08:42
Saturn 03:18 08:18 13:17
All times shown in EST.

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

29 Aug 2014  –  Neptune at opposition
31 Aug 2015  –  Neptune at opposition
02 Sep 2016  –  Neptune at opposition
05 Sep 2017  –  Neptune 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.

Ashburn

Latitude:
Longitude:
Timezone:

39.04°N
77.49°W
EDT

Color scheme