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Close approach of Mars and Neptune

Dominic Ford, Editor
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The sky at

Mars and Neptune will make a close approach, passing within 0°02' of each other.

From Fairfield, the pair will be visible in the evening sky, becoming accessible around 16:56 (EDT) as the dusk sky fades, 39° above your southern horizon. They will then reach its highest point in the sky at 17:48, 41° above your southern horizon. They will continue to be observable until around 22:26, when they sink below 10° above your western horizon.

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Mars will be at mag 0.1; and Neptune will be at mag 7.9. Both objects will lie in the constellation Aquarius.

They will be close enough to fit within the field of view of a telescope, but will also be visible 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 Mars and Neptune 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 23h00m30s -07°21' Aquarius 0.1 8"8
Neptune 23h00m30s -07°23' Aquarius 7.9 2"2

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
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

30-day old moon
Waxing Crescent


30 days old

Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 05:28 10:30 15:32
Venus 03:27 08:53 14:20
Moon 07:15 12:05 16:55
Mars 12:11 17:49 23:26
Jupiter 06:20 11:06 15:52
Saturn 08:46 13:24 18:02
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

07 Sep 2018  –  Neptune at opposition
06 Mar 2019  –  Neptune at solar conjunction
10 Sep 2019  –  Neptune at opposition
08 Mar 2020  –  Neptune at solar conjunction

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