© NASA/Hubble Space Telescope

Mars at apogee

Sat, 05 Aug 2017 at06:52 EDT(224 days ago)
10:52 UTC

Dominic Ford, Editor
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Mars orbit around the Sun will carry it to its furthest point from the Earth – its apogee – moving to a distance of 2.66 AU from us. Since the size and brightness of Mars in the night sky both decrease when it is far away from us, this marks the moment when it will appear smallest, measuring a mere 3.5 arcsec in diameter. However, in practice, it will be rather too close to the Sun for observation, at an angular separation of only 3.15917° from it, as it will be close to solar conjunction.

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 exact position of Mars at the moment it passes apogee will be:

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Magnitude Angular Size
Mars 08h51m00s +18°48' Cancer 1.7 3.5"

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0.

The sky on 05 August 2017
Sunrise 06:13
Sunset 20:16
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

13-day old moon
Age of Moon
13 days

All times shown in EDT.
Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 08:29 14:51 21:12
Venus 03:16 10:36 17:56
Moon 18:58 23:58 04:06
Mars 05:56 13:03 20:11
Jupiter 11:33 17:17 23:01
Saturn 16:45 21:33 02:24


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.


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.

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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
08 Dec 2022, 00:35 EST  –  Mars at opposition

Image credit

© NASA/Hubble Space Telescope




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