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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 0°57' of each other. The Moon will be 9 days old.

From Cambridge, the pair will be visible in the evening sky, becoming accessible around 16:43 (EDT) as the dusk sky fades, 30° above your south-eastern horizon. They will then reach its highest point in the sky at 18:16, 34° above your southern horizon. They will continue to be observable until around 22:40, when they sink below 7° above your south-western horizon.

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The Moon will be at mag -11.9; and Mars will be at mag -0.3. Both objects will lie in the constellation Aquarius.

They will be a little too widely separated to fit comfortably 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 pair 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 pair at the moment of closest approach will be as follows:

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Magnitude Angular Size
The Moon 22h11m30s -13°59' Aquarius -11.9 29'39"0
Mars 22h10m20s -13°04' Aquarius -0.3 10"4

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0. The pair will be at an angular separation of 96° from the Sun, which is in Libra at this time of year.

The sky on 15 November 2018
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

8-day old moon
Waxing Gibbous


8 days old

Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 08:27 12:52 17:16
Venus 04:15 09:37 14:59
Moon 12:59 18:05 23:12
Mars 13:01 18:15 23:29
Jupiter 07:17 12:04 16:51
Saturn 09:58 14:32 19:05
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.

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

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