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Mars at solar conjunction

Dominic Ford, Editor
From the Outer Planets feed

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The sky at

Mars will pass very close to the Sun in the sky as its orbit carries it around the far side of the solar system from the Earth.

At closest approach, Mars will appear at a separation of only 0°37' from the Sun, making it totally unobservable for several weeks while it is lost in the Sun's glare.

At around the same time, Mars will also be at its most distant from the Earth – receding to a distance of 2.57 AU – since the two planets will lie on opposite sides of the solar system.

If Mars could be observed at this time, it would appear at its smallest and faintest on account of its large distance. It would measure 3.6 arcsec in diameter.

Over following weeks and months, Mars will re-emerge to the west of the Sun, gradually becoming visible for ever-longer periods in the pre-dawn sky. After around a year, it will reach opposition, when it will be visible for virtually the whole night. A chart of the path of Mars across the sky in 2015 can be found here, and a chart of its rising and setting times here.

The position of Mars at the moment it passes solar conjunction will be:

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Angular Size
Mars 05h29m40s +23°52' Taurus 3.6"
Sun 05h29m +23°15' Taurus 31'29"

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0.

The sky on 14 June 2015
Sunrise
05:11
Sunset
21:08
Twilight ends
00:11
Twilight begins
02:06

27-day old moon
Waning Crescent

4%

27 days old

Planets
Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 04:31 11:53 19:15
Venus 08:45 16:24 00:05
Moon 04:17 11:34 18:52
Mars 05:09 13:09 21:09
Jupiter 09:46 17:03 00:24
Saturn 18:49 23:29 04:14
All times shown in PDT.

Warning

Never attempt to point a pair of binoculars or a telescope at an object close to the Sun. Doing so may result in immediate and permanent blindness.

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

14 Jun 2015  –  Mars at solar conjunction
11 Jul 2015  –  Mars at apogee
20 Nov 2015  –  Mars at aphelion
22 May 2016  –  Mars at opposition

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