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Close approach of Mars and NGC 6530

Dominic Ford, Editor
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The sky at

Mars and NGC6530 will make a close approach, passing within 0°51' of each other.

From Cambridge, the pair will be visible in the dawn sky, rising at 02:36 (EDT) and reaching an altitude of 22° above the southern horizon before fading from view as dawn breaks around 06:16.

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Mars will be at mag 0.5; and NGC6530 will be at mag 4.6. Both objects will lie in the constellation Sagittarius.

They will be a little too widely separated to fit comfortably within the field of view of a telescope, but will be visible through a pair of binoculars.

A graph of the angular separation between Mars and NGC6530 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
Mars 18h04m30s -23°29' Sagittarius 0.5 7"6
NGC6530 18h04m30s -24°21' Sagittarius 4.6 15'00"0

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0. The pair will be at an angular separation of 88° from the Sun, which is in Pisces at this time of year.

The sky on 19 March 2018
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

2-day old moon
Waxing Crescent


2 days old

Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 07:14 13:50 20:26
Venus 07:33 13:55 20:17
Moon 08:17 14:40 21:03
Mars 02:30 07:01 11:31
Jupiter 23:19 04:21 09:18
Saturn 02:57 07:33 12:08
All times shown in EDT.


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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