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 4°23' of each other. The Moon will be 24 days old.

From Ashburn, the pair will be visible in the dawn sky, rising at 02:53 (EST) – 4 hours and 35 minutes before the Sun – and reach an altitude of 32° above the southern horizon before fading from view as dawn breaks at around 07:08.

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The Moon will be at mag -11.1, and Mars at mag 1.4, both in the constellation Libra.

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 15h17m50s -12°50' Libra -11.1 29'46"9
Mars 15h13m00s -17°04' Libra 1.4 5"0

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0. The pair will be at an angular separation of 60° from the Sun, which is in Sagittarius at this time of year.

The sky on 11 January 2018
Sunrise
07:27
Sunset
17:06
Twilight ends
18:40
Twilight begins
05:52

24-day old moon
Waning Crescent

25%

24 days old

Planets
Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 06:04 10:47 15:30
Venus 07:35 12:19 17:04
Moon 02:43 08:04 13:25
Mars 02:53 07:59 13:04
Jupiter 02:42 07:50 12:59
Saturn 06:11 10:55 15:40
All times shown in EST.

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
EST

Color scheme