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°43' of each other. The Moon will be 11 days old.

From Ashburn, the pair will be visible in the evening sky, becoming accessible at around 19:25 (EST) as the dusk sky fades, 20° above your south-eastern horizon. They will then reach its highest point in the sky at 21:31, 26° above your southern horizon. They will continue to be observable until around 01:19, when they sink to 8° above your south-western horizon.

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The Moon will be at mag -12.3, and Mars at mag -1.6, both in the constellation Capricornus.

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 20h18m30s -19°26' Capricornus -12.3 29'30"0
Mars 20h21m20s -24°07' Capricornus -1.6 17"5

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0. The pair will be at an angular separation of 125° from the Sun, which is in Virgo at this time of year.

The sky on 20 September 2018
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

11-day old moon
Waxing Gibbous


11 days old

Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 06:52 13:03 19:15
Venus 10:22 15:20 20:18
Moon 17:09 22:11 02:20
Mars 16:54 21:32 02:13
Jupiter 11:16 16:22 21:28
Saturn 14:37 19:21 00:09
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.

Related news

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
15 Jan 2025, 21:32 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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