Dominic Ford, Editor
From the Appulses feed
The Moon and Mars will make a close approach, passing within 3°21' of each other. The Moon will be 8 days old.
From Ashburn, the pair will be visible in the evening sky, becoming accessible at around 17:07 (EDT) as the dusk sky fades, 44° above your southern horizon. They will then reach its highest point in the sky at 17:54, 45° above your southern horizon. They will continue to be observable until around 22:55, when they sink to 8° above your western horizon.
The Moon will be at mag -11.8, and Mars at mag 0.2, both in the constellation Aquarius.
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.
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 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|
7 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.
|27 Jul 2018||– Mars at opposition|
|13 Oct 2020||– Mars at opposition|
|08 Dec 2022||– Mars at opposition|
|15 Jan 2025||– Mars at opposition|
The Moon in conjunction with Venus and Jupiter, with the Very Large Telescope in the foreground. Image © Y. Beletsky, ESO, 2009.