Dominic Ford, Editor
From the Appulses feed
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.
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.
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|
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|
28 days old
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.
|29 Aug 2014||– Neptune at opposition|
|31 Aug 2015||– Neptune at opposition|
|02 Sep 2016||– Neptune at opposition|
|05 Sep 2017||– Neptune at opposition|
The Moon in conjunction with Venus and Jupiter, with the Very Large Telescope in the foreground. Image © Y. Beletsky, ESO, 2009.