© NASA/Hubble Space Telescope

Mars at aphelion

Sat, 07 Oct 2017 at18:08 EDT(102 days ago)
22:08 UTC

Dominic Ford, Editor
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Ashburn
The sky at

Mars's 687-day orbit around the Sun will carry it to its furthest point to the Sun – its aphelion – at a distance of 1.67 AU.

Unlike most of the planets, which follow almost exactly circular orbits around the Sun which only vary in their distance from the Sun by a few percent, Mars has a significantly elliptical orbit. Its distance from the Sun varies between 1.38 AU and 1.67 AU – a variation of over 20% – meaning that it receives 31% less heat and light from the Sun at aphelion as compared to perihelion.

Finding Mars

Mars's distance from the Sun doesn't affect its appearance. From Ashburn (click to change), at the moment of aphelion it will not be observable – it will reach its highest point in the sky during daytime and will be no higher than 13° above the horizon at dawn.

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 aphelion will be:

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Magnitude Angular Size
Mars 11h26m20s +04°53' Leo 1.8 3.7"

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0.

The sky on 07 October 2017
Sunrise 07:10
Sunset 18:42
Twilight ends
20:11
Twilight begins
05:42

17-day old moon
Age of Moon
17 days

All times shown in EDT.
Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 07:05 12:55 18:44
Venus 05:16 11:34 17:52
Moon 20:27 02:17 08:46
Mars 05:10 11:29 17:48
Jupiter 08:24 13:53 19:23
Saturn 12:44 17:30 22:16

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

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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