Dominic Ford, Editor
From the Appulses feed
The Moon and Mars will make a close approach, passing within 4°18' of each other. The Moon will be 23 days old.
From Ashburn, the pair will be visible in the dawn sky, rising at 02:27 (EDT) – 4 hours and 40 minutes before the Sun – and reaching an altitude of 29° above the southern horizon before fading from view as dawn breaks around 06:49.
The Moon will be at mag -11.4, and Mars at mag 1.1, both in the constellation Ophiuchus.
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.
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 coordinates above are given in J2000.0. The pair will be at an angular separation of 71° from the Sun, which is in Capricornus at this time of year.
|The sky on 09 February 2018|
23 days old
All times shown in EST.
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.
|22 May 2016||– Mars at opposition|
|27 Jul 2018||– Mars at opposition|
|13 Oct 2020||– Mars at opposition|
|08 Dec 2022||– Mars at opposition|
The Moon in conjunction with Venus and Jupiter, with the Very Large Telescope in the foreground. Image © Y. Beletsky, ESO, 2009.