© NASA/Hubble Space Telescope

Mars at aphelion

Dominic Ford, Editor
From the Outer Planets feed

Objects: Mars
Please wait
Loading 0/4
Click and drag to rotate
Mouse wheel to zoom in/out
Touch with mouse to dismiss
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 Washington, at the moment of aphelion it will be difficult to observe as it will appear no higher than 13° above the horizon. It will be visible in the dawn sky, rising at 05:37 (MDT) – 2 hours and 0 minutes before the Sun – and reaching an altitude of 13° above the eastern horizon before fading from view as dawn breaks around 06:51.

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

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
07:35
Sunset
19:08
Twilight ends
20:35
Twilight begins
06:08

17-day old moon
Waning Gibbous

93%

17 days old

Planets
Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 07:30 13:20 19:10
Venus 05:42 11:59 18:17
Moon 20:59 02:47 09:15
Mars 05:37 11:54 18:12
Jupiter 08:46 14:18 19:50
Saturn 13:03 17:55 22:46
All times shown in MDT.

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

07 Oct 2017  –  Mars at aphelion
26 Jul 2018  –  Mars at opposition
31 Jul 2018  –  Mars at perigee
16 Sep 2018  –  Mars at perihelion

Image credit

© NASA/Hubble Space Telescope

Share

Follow

Washington

Latitude:
Longitude:
Timezone:

37.13°N
113.51°W
MDT

Color scheme