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

Close approach of the Moon and Mars

Dominic Ford, Editor
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Ashburn
The sky at

The Moon and Mars will make a close approach, passing within 2°39' of each other. The Moon will be 22 days old.

From Ashburn (click to change), the pair will be visible in the morning sky, becoming accessible at around 01:51, when they rise 7° above your south-eastern horizon. They will then reach its highest point in the sky at 06:17, 36° above your southern horizon. They will be lost to dawn twilight at around 06:57, 35° above your southern horizon.

The Moon will be at mag -11.8, and Mars at mag 0.8, both in the constellation Libra.

The pair will be too widely separated to fit within the field of view of a telescope, but will be visible to the naked eye or 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 the Moon and Mars 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 Moon 14h54m10s -12°20' Libra -11.8 29'43"1
Mars 14h51m40s -14°55' Libra 0.8 6"8

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0. The pair will be at an angular separation of 86° from the Sun, which is in Capricornus at this time of year.

The sky on 01 February 2016
Sunrise
07:16
Sunset
17:28
Twilight ends
19:00
Twilight begins
05:44

22-day old moon
Waning Crescent

47%

22 days old

Planets
Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 05:46 10:38 15:30
Venus 05:25 10:10 14:56
Moon 00:59 06:21 11:44
Mars 01:04 06:17 11:30
Jupiter 20:37 02:59 09:16
Saturn 03:24 08:16 13:07
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

08 Apr 2014, 16:57 EDT  –  Mars at opposition
22 May 2016, 07:10 EDT  –  Mars at opposition
27 Jul 2018, 01:07 EDT  –  Mars at opposition
13 Oct 2020, 19:19 EDT  –  Mars 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