Dominic Ford, Editor
From the Conjunctions feed
Mars and Neptune will share the same right ascension, with Mars passing 0°01' to the south of Neptune.
From Ashburn, the pair will become visible at around 17:35 (EDT) as the dusk sky fades, 38° above your south-western horizon. They will then sink towards the horizon, setting 4 hours and 49 minutes after the Sun at 21:42.
Mars will be at mag 0.9, and Neptune at mag 7.9, both in the constellation Aquarius.
The pair will be close enough to fit within the field of view of a telescope, but will also be visible through a pair of binoculars.
A graph of the angular separation between Mars and Neptune around the time of closest approach is available here.
The positions of the two objects at the moment of conjunction 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 58° from the Sun, which is in Sagittarius at this time of year.
|The sky on 01 January 2017|
3 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.
|02 Sep 2016, 12:23 EDT||– Neptune at opposition|
|05 Sep 2017, 01:13 EDT||– Neptune at opposition|
|07 Sep 2018, 14:13 EDT||– Neptune at opposition|
|10 Sep 2019, 03:10 EDT||– Neptune at opposition|
The Moon in conjunction with Venus and Jupiter, with the Very Large Telescope in the foreground. Image © Y. Beletsky, ESO, 2009.