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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 2°36' of each other. The Moon will be 22 days old.

From Ashburn, the pair will be visible in the dawn sky, rising at 02:35 (EDT) – 3 hours and 25 minutes before the Sun – and reaching an altitude of 28° above the south-eastern horizon before fading from view as dawn breaks around 05:40.

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The Moon will be at mag -11.7; 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 22h18m40s -15°23' Aquarius -11.7 29'51"9
Mars 22h15m10s -12°55' Aquarius 0.2 8"3

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0. The pair will be at an angular separation of 83° from the Sun, which is in Taurus at this time of year.

The sky on 14 May 2020
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

21-day old moon
Waning Crescent


21 days old

Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 06:30 13:53 21:15
Venus 07:18 15:01 22:43
Moon 02:24 07:25 12:26
Mars 02:34 07:53 13:13
Jupiter 00:45 05:36 10:27
Saturn 01:01 05:56 10:51
All times shown in EDT.


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
23 Aug 2020  –  Mars 2020: a great chance to see the red planet
06 Oct 2020  –  Mars at perigee

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