Dominic Ford, Editor
From the Appulses feed
Mars and Neptune will make a close approach, passing within 0°02' of each other.
From Cambridge, the pair will be visible in the evening sky, becoming accessible around 16:43 (EDT) as the dusk sky fades, 38° above your southern horizon. They will then reach its highest point in the sky at 17:38, 40° above your southern horizon. They will continue to be observable until around 22:14, when they sink below 10° above your western horizon.
Mars will be at mag 0.1, and Neptune at mag 7.9, both in the constellation Aquarius.
The pair will be close enough to fit within the field of view of a telescope, but will also be visible through a pair of binoculars.
A graph of the angular separation between Mars and Neptune 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 coordinates above are given in J2000.0. The pair will be at an angular separation of 88° from the Sun, which is in Ophiuchus at this time of year.
|The sky on 07 December 2018|
30 days old
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.
|07 Sep 2018||– Neptune at opposition|
|10 Sep 2019||– Neptune at opposition|
|11 Sep 2020||– Neptune at opposition|
|14 Sep 2021||– Neptune at opposition|
The Moon in conjunction with Venus and Jupiter, with the Very Large Telescope in the foreground. Image © Y. Beletsky, ESO, 2009.