The Moon in conjunction with Venus and Jupiter, with the Very Large Telescope in the foreground. Image © Y. Beletsky, ESO, 2009.

Close approach of the Moon and Mars

Dominic Ford, Editor
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Ashburn
The sky at

The Moon and Mars will make a close approach, passing within 1°41' of each other. The Moon will be 27 days old.

From Ashburn, the pair will be visible in the dawn sky, rising at 05:02 (EDT) – 2 hours and 19 minutes before the Sun – and reach an altitude of 21° above the eastern horizon before fading from view as dawn breaks at around 07:03.

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The Moon will be at mag -9.6, and Mars at mag 1.8, both in the constellation Virgo.

The pair will be too widely separated to fit within the field of view of a telescope, but will be visible to the naked eye or through a pair of binoculars.

At around the same time, the two objects will also share the same right ascension – called a conjunction.

A graph of the angular separation between the Moon and Mars around the time of closest approach is available here.

The positions of the two objects at the moment of closest approach will be as follows:

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Magnitude Angular Size
The Moon 11h50m50s +04°05' Virgo -9.6 30'58"8
Mars 11h48m40s +02°29' Virgo 1.8 3"7

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0. The pair will be at an angular separation of 27° from the Sun, which is in Virgo at this time of year.

The sky on 17 October 2017
Sunrise
07:20
Sunset
18:27
Twilight ends
19:56
Twilight begins
05:51

27-day old moon
Waning Crescent

5%

27 days old

Planets
Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 07:52 13:17 18:43
Venus 05:38 11:40 17:43
Moon 05:09 11:23 17:37
Mars 05:02 11:13 17:24
Jupiter 07:55 13:22 18:49
Saturn 12:08 16:54 21:40
All times shown in EDT.

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

The Moon in conjunction with Venus and Jupiter, with the Very Large Telescope in the foreground. Image © Y. Beletsky, ESO, 2009.

Ashburn

Latitude:
Longitude:
Timezone:

39.04°N
77.49°W
EDT

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