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 a mere 41.2 arcminutes of each other. The Moon will be 20 days old.

From Ashburn, the pair will be visible in the morning sky, becoming accessible around 23:45, when they reach an altitude of 7° above your eastern horizon. They will then reach their highest point in the sky at 05:22, 55° above your southern horizon. They will be lost to dawn twilight around 05:58, 54° above your southern horizon.

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The Moon will be at mag -12.1; and Mars will be at mag -1.3. Both objects will lie in the constellation Pisces.

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 01h26m00s +03°59' Pisces -12.1 29'30"9
Mars 01h25m00s +04°37' Pisces -1.3 15"6

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0. The pair will be at an angular separation of 115° from the Sun, which is in Cancer at this time of year.

The sky on 09 August 2020
Sunrise
06:18
Sunset
20:12
Twilight ends
21:54
Twilight begins
04:35

20-day old moon
Waning Gibbous

71%

20 days old

Planets
Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 05:32 12:42 19:52
Venus 02:51 10:03 17:14
Moon 23:34 05:25 11:41
Mars 23:01 05:22 11:40
Jupiter 18:31 23:16 04:06
Saturn 19:00 23:50 04:45
All times shown in EDT.

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.

Related news

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
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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39.04°N
77.49°W
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