The Moon in conjunction with Venus and Jupiter, with the Very Large Telescope in the foreground. Image © Y. Beletsky, ESO, 2009.

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 4°58' of each other. The Moon will be 6 days old.

From Fairfield, the pair will become visible around 17:07 (EDT), 51° above your southern horizon, as dusk fades to darkness. They will then sink towards the horizon, setting at 23:08.

Begin typing the name of a town near to you, and then select the town from the list of options which appear below.

The Moon will be at mag -11.5 in Cetus; and Mars will be at mag 0.6 in Pisces.

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 00h35m40s -01°35' Cetus -11.5 29'56"6
Mars 00h28m30s +03°02' Pisces 0.6 6"8

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0. The pair will be at an angular separation of 75° from the Sun, which is in Sagittarius at this time of year.

The sky on 12 January 2019
Sunrise
07:15
Sunset
16:47
Twilight ends
18:23
Twilight begins
05:39

6-day old moon
Waxing Crescent

42%

6 days old

Planets
Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 06:45 11:16 15:48
Venus 03:47 08:45 13:43
Moon 10:58 16:57 23:07
Mars 10:40 16:53 23:07
Jupiter 04:37 09:19 14:00
Saturn 06:43 11:22 16:01
All times shown in EST.

Source

The circumstances of this event were computed using the DE430 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.

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06 Oct 2020  –  Mars at perigee
13 Oct 2020  –  Mars at opposition

Image credit

The Moon in conjunction with Venus and Jupiter, with the Very Large Telescope in the foreground. Image © Y. Beletsky, ESO, 2009.

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