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

Fri, 09 Mar 2018 at20:25 EST(20 days away)
01:25 UTC

Dominic Ford, Editor
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The sky at

The Moon and Mars will make a close approach, passing within 3°47' of each other. The Moon will be 23 days old.

From Ashburn (click to change), the pair will be visible in the dawn sky, rising at 01:59 (EST) – 4 hours and 32 minutes before the Sun – and reach an altitude of 27° above the southern horizon before fading from view as dawn breaks at around 06:14.

The Moon will be at mag -11.7, and Mars at mag 0.7, 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.

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 17h41m10s -19°26' Ophiuchus -11.7 29'35"6
Mars 17h39m40s -23°13' Ophiuchus 0.7 7"1

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0. The pair will be at an angular separation of 83° from the Sun, which is in Aquarius at this time of year.

The sky on 09 March 2018
Sunrise 06:29
Sunset 18:09
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

22-day old moon
Age of Moon
22 days

All times shown in EST.
Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 07:06 13:19 19:31
Venus 07:10 13:14 19:17
Moon 01:12 06:12 11:13
Mars 01:57 06:39 11:21
Jupiter 23:17 04:25 09:29
Saturn 02:48 07:34 12:19


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.

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22 May 2016, 07:10 EDT  –  Mars at opposition
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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.




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