Unlike most of the planets, which follow almost exactly circular orbits around the Sun which only vary in their distance from the Sun by a few percent, Mars has a significantly elliptical orbit. Its distance from the Sun varies between 1.38 AU and 1.67 AU – a variation of over 20% – meaning that it receives 31% less heat and light from the Sun at aphelion as compared to perihelion.
Mars's distance from the Sun doesn't affect its appearance. From Fairfield, at the moment of aphelion it will be visible in the dawn sky, rising at 02:15 (EDT) and reaching an altitude of 38° above the south-eastern horizon before fading from view as dawn breaks around 06:00.
The position of Mars at the moment it passes aphelion will be:
|Object||Right Ascension||Declination||Constellation||Magnitude||Angular Size|
The coordinates above are given in J2000.0.
|The sky on 20 November 2015|
9 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.
|20 Nov 2015||– Mars at aphelion|
|22 May 2016||– Mars at opposition|
|30 May 2016||– Mars at perigee|
|29 Oct 2016||– Mars at perihelion|