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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The sky at

The Moon and Mars will make a close approach, passing within 3°00' of each other. The Moon will be 27 days old.

From Ashburn , the pair will be visible in the dawn sky, rising at 03:41 (EST) – 3 hours and 9 minutes before the Sun – and reaching an altitude of 25° above the south-eastern horizon before fading from view as dawn breaks at around 06:01.

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The Moon will be at mag -10.2; and Mars will be at mag 1.8. Both objects will lie in the constellation Virgo.

They 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 pair 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 pair at the moment of closest approach will be as follows:

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Magnitude Angular Size
The Moon 12h59m00s 1°51'S Virgo -10.2 30'26"0
Mars 12h55m00s 4°41'S Virgo 1.8 4"0

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0. The pair will be at an angular separation of 38° from the Sun, which is in Libra at this time of year.

The sky on 14 Nov 2017

The sky on 14 November 2017
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

26-day old moon
Waning Crescent


26 days old

Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 08:39 13:15 17:51
Venus 05:42 11:01 16:20
Moon 02:50 09:07 15:17
Mars 03:40 09:28 15:16
Jupiter 05:35 10:55 16:15
Saturn 09:29 14:15 19:00
All times shown in EST.


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.

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29 Jun 2016  –  Mars ends retrograde motion
26 Jun 2018  –  Mars enters retrograde motion
27 Jul 2018  –  Mars at opposition
31 Jul 2018  –  Mars at perigee

Image credit

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





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