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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The sky at

The Moon and Mars will make a close approach, passing within 6°55' of each other. The Moon will be 12 days old.

From Ashburn, the pair will be visible in the evening sky, becoming accessible around 20:58 (EST), 24° above your south-eastern horizon, as dusk fades to darkness. They will then reach their highest point in the sky at 22:46, 29° above your southern horizon. They will continue to be observable until around 02:45, when they sink below 7° above your south-western horizon.

Begin typing the name of a town near to you, and then select the town from the list of options which appear below.

The Moon will be at mag -12.4; and Mars will be at mag -1.7. Both objects will lie in the constellation Libra.

They will be too widely separated to fit within the field of view of a telescope or pair of binoculars, but will be visible to the naked eye.

At around the same time, the pair 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 pair at the moment of closest approach will be as follows:

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Magnitude Angular Size
The Moon 15h29m40s -14°11' Libra -12.4 29'38"5
Mars 15h23m30s -20°57' Libra -1.7 17"7

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0. The pair will be at an angular separation of 146° from the Sun, which is in Taurus at this time of year.

The sky on 17 June 2016
Sunrise
05:41
Sunset
20:38
Twilight ends
22:38
Twilight begins
03:41

12-day old moon
Waxing Gibbous

94%

12 days old

Planets
Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 04:35 11:45 18:55
Venus 05:55 13:22 20:50
Moon 18:00 23:20 04:37
Mars 17:55 22:46 03:37
Jupiter 12:05 18:31 00:56
Saturn 19:15 00:08 05:01
All times shown in EDT.

Source

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.

Related news

30 May 2016  –  Mars at perigee
27 Jul 2018  –  Mars at opposition
31 Jul 2018  –  Mars at perigee
06 Oct 2020  –  Mars at perigee

Image credit

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

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Ashburn

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39.04°N
77.49°W
EST

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