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Mars at perihelion

Dominic Ford, Editor
From the Outer Planets feed

Objects: Mars
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The sky at

Mars's 687-day orbit around the Sun will carry it to its closest point to the Sun – its perihelion – at a distance of 1.38 AU.

Unlike most of the planets, which follow almost exactly circular orbits around the Sun which only vary in their distance from the Sun by a few percent, Mars has a significantly elliptical orbit. Its distance from the Sun varies between 1.38 AU and 1.67 AU – a variation of over 20% – meaning that it receives 31% less heat and light from the Sun at aphelion as compared to perihelion.

Finding Mars

Mars's distance from the Sun doesn't affect its appearance. From Fairfield, at the moment of perihelion it will be visible in the evening sky, becoming accessible around 19:18 (EDT) as the dusk sky fades, 17° above your south-eastern horizon. It will then reach its highest point in the sky at 21:27, 24° above your southern horizon. It will continue to be observable until around 01:03, when it sinks below 8° above your south-western horizon.

Begin typing the name of a town near to you, and then select the town from the list of options which appear below.

A chart of the path of Mars across the sky in 2018 can be found here, and a chart of its rising and setting times here.

The exact position of Mars at the moment it passes perihelion will be:

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Magnitude Angular Size
Mars 20h17m10s -24°34' Capricornus -1.7 18.1"

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0.

The sky on 16 September 2018
Sunrise
06:34
Sunset
19:01
Twilight ends
20:35
Twilight begins
05:00

7-day old moon
Waxing Crescent

45%

7 days old

Planets
Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 06:13 12:36 18:59
Venus 10:15 15:13 20:10
Moon 13:53 18:43 23:33
Mars 16:58 21:28 02:00
Jupiter 11:17 16:19 21:21
Saturn 14:43 19:21 23:58
All times shown in EDT.

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

16 Sep 2018  –  Mars at perihelion
25 Aug 2019  –  Mars at aphelion
28 Aug 2019  –  Mars at apogee
02 Sep 2019  –  Mars at solar conjunction

Image credit

None available.

Fairfield

Latitude:
Longitude:
Timezone:

41.14°N
73.26°W
EDT

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