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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 3°21' of each other. The Moon will be 8 days old.

From Fairfield, the pair will be visible in the evening sky, becoming accessible around 16:45 (EDT) as the dusk sky fades, 41° above your southern horizon. They will then reach its highest point in the sky at 17:38, 43° above your southern horizon. They will continue to be observable until around 22:36, when they sink below 8° above your western horizon.

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The Moon will be at mag -11.8; and Mars will be at mag 0.2. Both objects will lie in the constellation Aquarius.

They 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 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 23h22m50s -08°25' Aquarius -11.8 29'46"1
Mars 23h18m20s -05°15' Aquarius 0.2 8"3

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0. The pair will be at an angular separation of 85° from the Sun, which is in Ophiuchus at this time of year.

The sky on 14 December 2018
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

7-day old moon
Waxing Crescent


7 days old

Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 05:22 10:19 15:16
Venus 03:24 08:46 14:09
Moon 12:06 17:36 23:06
Mars 11:53 17:38 23:22
Jupiter 06:00 10:45 15:30
Saturn 08:22 13:00 17:38
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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