The Moon and Mars will make a close approach, passing within a mere 45.1 arcminutes of each other. The Moon will be 25 days old.
From Cambridge, the pair will be visible in the dawn sky, rising at 03:29 (EST) – 3 hours and 9 minutes before the Sun – and reaching an altitude of 19° above the south-eastern horizon before fading from view as dawn breaks around 06:19.
The Moon will be at mag -11.1; and Mars will be at mag 1.2. Both objects will lie in the constellation Sagittarius.
They will be a little too widely separated to fit comfortably 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 pair 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 57° from the Sun, which is in Aquarius at this time of year.
|The sky on 18 February 2020|
25 days old
All times shown in EST.
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.
|02 Sep 2019||– Mars at solar conjunction|
|03 Aug 2020||– Mars at perihelion|
|23 Aug 2020||– Mars 2020: a great chance to see the red planet|
|06 Oct 2020||– Mars at perigee|
The Moon in conjunction with Venus and Jupiter, with the Very Large Telescope in the foreground. Image © Y. Beletsky, ESO, 2009.