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Close approach of the Moon and Mars

Dominic Ford, Editor
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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 Seattle, the pair will be visible in the dawn sky, rising at 04:59 (PST) – 2 hours and 32 minutes before the Sun – and reaching an altitude of 20° above the eastern horizon before fading from view as dawn breaks around 07:10.

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

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
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

27-day old moon
Waning Crescent


27 days old

Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 08:06 13:18 18:30
Venus 05:38 11:41 17:44
Moon 05:14 11:30 17:46
Mars 05:00 11:14 17:28
Jupiter 08:08 13:22 18:37
Saturn 12:36 16:54 21:11
All times shown in PDT.


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

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

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