The planets Jupiter and Mars will make a close approach, passing within a mere 22.6 arcminutes of each other.
From Cambridge, the pair will be visible in the dawn sky, rising at 03:36 (EDT) – 3 hours and 24 minutes before the Sun – and reaching an altitude of 32° above the eastern horizon before fading from view as dawn breaks around 06:40.
Jupiter will be at mag -1.8; and Mars will be at mag 1.7. Both objects will lie in the constellation Leo.
They will be close enough to fit within the field of view of a telescope, but will also be visible to the naked eye or through a pair of binoculars.
A graph of the angular separation between Jupiter 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 coordinates above are given in J2000.0. The pair will be at an angular separation of 40° from the Sun, which is in Virgo at this time of year.
|The sky on 17 October 2015|
4 days old
All times shown in EDT.
The circumstances of this event were computed using the DE430 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.
|06 Feb 2015||– Jupiter at opposition|
|08 Mar 2016||– Jupiter at opposition|
|07 Apr 2017||– Jupiter at opposition|
|08 May 2018||– Jupiter at opposition|
The Moon in conjunction with Venus and Jupiter, with the Very Large Telescope in the foreground. Image © Y. Beletsky, ESO, 2009.