© NASA/Hubble Space Telescope

Mars at solar conjunction

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 at21:17 EDT(3 days away)
01:17 UTC

Dominic Ford, Editor
From the Outer Planets feed

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The sky at

Mars will pass very close to the Sun in the sky as its orbit carries it around the far side of the solar system from the Earth.

At closest approach, Mars will appear at a separation of only 1°06' from the Sun, making it totally unobservable for several weeks while it is lost in the Sun's glare.

At around the same time, Mars will also be at its most distant from the Earth – receding to a distance of 2.66 AU – since the two planets will lie on opposite sides of the solar system.

If Mars could be observed at this time, it would appear at its smallest and faintest on account of its large distance. It would measure 3.5 arcsec in diameter.

Over following weeks and months, Mars will re-emerge to the west of the Sun, gradually becoming visible for ever-longer periods in the pre-dawn sky. After around a year, it will reach opposition, when it will be visible for virtually the whole night. A chart of the path of Mars across the sky in 2017 can be found here, and a chart of its rising and setting times here.

The position of Mars at the moment it passes solar conjunction will be:

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Angular Size
Mars 08h26m10s +20°19' Cancer 3.5"
Sun 08h25m +19°15' Cancer 31'29"

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0.

The sky on 26 July 2017
Sunrise 06:04
Sunset 20:26
Twilight ends
22:15
Twilight begins
04:15

3-day old moon
Age of Moon
3 days

All times shown in EDT.
Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 08:23 15:01 21:39
Venus 03:08 10:26 17:43
Moon 09:48 16:13 22:39
Mars 06:03 13:17 20:30
Jupiter 12:06 17:52 23:37
Saturn 17:26 22:13 03:05

Warning

Never attempt to point a pair of binoculars or a telescope at an object close to the Sun. Doing so may result in immediate and permanent blindness.

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

27 Jul 2017, 21:17 EDTMars at solar conjunction
27 Jul 2018, 01:07 EDTMars at opposition
02 Sep 2019, 07:01 EDTMars at solar conjunction
13 Oct 2020, 19:19 EDTMars at opposition

Image credit

© NASA/Hubble Space Telescope

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