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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 3°56' of each other. The Moon will be 25 days old.

From Seattle, the pair will be visible in the dawn sky, rising at 03:30 (PDT) and reaching an altitude of 28° above the southern horizon before fading from view as dawn breaks around 07:27.

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 -10.7; and Mars will be at mag 1.6. 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 14h07m50s -07°40' Virgo -10.7 30'01"9
Mars 14h02m40s -11°24' Virgo 1.6 4"4

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0. The pair will be at an angular separation of 49° from the Sun, which is in Ophiuchus at this time of year.

The sky on 13 December 2017
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

25-day old moon
Waning Crescent


25 days old

Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 07:32 11:56 16:20
Venus 07:19 11:36 15:53
Moon 03:10 08:42 14:15
Mars 03:30 08:42 13:55
Jupiter 04:29 09:25 14:21
Saturn 08:19 12:35 16:51
All times shown in PST.


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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