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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 0°45' of each other. The Moon will be 25 days old.

From Fairfield, the pair will be visible in the dawn sky, rising at 03:33 (EDT) – 3 hours and 12 minutes before the Sun – and reaching an altitude of 20° above the south-eastern horizon before fading from view as dawn breaks around 06:26.

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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.

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 18h05m20s -22°54' Sagittarius -11.1 30'47"2
Mars 18h05m00s -23°39' Sagittarius 1.2 5"1

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
Sunrise
06:44
Sunset
17:29
Twilight ends
19:01
Twilight begins
05:12

25-day old moon
Waning Crescent

23%

25 days old

Planets
Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 07:04 12:52 18:40
Venus 08:25 14:46 21:07
Moon 03:29 08:06 12:43
Mars 03:33 08:07 12:40
Jupiter 04:36 09:16 13:55
Saturn 05:11 09:57 14:42
All times shown in EST.

Source

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

02 Sep 2019  –  Mars at solar conjunction
03 Aug 2020  –  Mars at perihelion
06 Oct 2020  –  Mars at perigee
13 Oct 2020  –  Mars at opposition

Image credit

None available.

Fairfield

Latitude:
Longitude:
Timezone:

41.14°N
73.26°W
EDT

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