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

Lunar occultation of Mars

Dominic Ford, Editor
From the Lunar Occultations feed

Objects: Mars

The Moon will pass in front of Mars, creating a lunar occultation visible from Africa, South America and Southern Europe.

Unfortunately the occultation will not be visible from San Diego, though a close conjunction between the pair will be more widely visible.

The map below shows the visibility of the occultation across the world. Separate contours show where the disappearance of Mars is visible (shown in red), and where its reappearance is visible (shown in blue). Solid contours show where each event is likely to be visible through binoculars at a reasonable altitude in the sky. Dotted contours indicate where each event occurs above the horizon, but may not be visible due to the sky being too bright or the Moon being very close to the horizon.

Map showing where the occultation is visible

Outside of the contours, the Moon does not pass in front of Mars at any time, or is below the horizon at the time of the occultation. However, a close conjunction between the pair may be visible.

The map can be downloaded in PNG , PDF or SVG format. A KMZ file , is also available, which can be opened in Google Earth to provide a higher resolution map.

A complete list of the countries and territories where the occultation will be visible is as follows:

Country Time span
Brazil 22:54–01:21
Algeria 19:26–18:45
Libya 11:08–18:50
Argentina 22:54–01:00
Mali 19:39–06:17
Peru 22:57–01:12
Niger 01:47–18:11
Chad 01:30–18:04
Bolivia 22:55–01:15
Mauritania 19:18–18:11
Sudan 01:30–19:56
Egypt 00:56–20:13
Nigeria 01:23–03:23
Morocco 19:18–18:29
Paraguay 07:02–01:05
Chile 10:05–01:07
Western Sahara 19:16–18:12
Ivory Coast 01:26–06:34
Burkina Faso 06:16–06:28
Turkey 11:41–20:37
Spain 19:12–18:46
Guinea 06:13–06:14
Senegal 10:14–05:44
Greece 11:26–20:30
Tunisia 10:58–18:48
Italy 11:00–19:05
Ghana 01:25–06:43
Suriname 23:17–01:17
Guyana 23:15–01:16
Liberia 01:28–06:20
Benin 01:28–02:53
French Guiana 23:18–01:18
Colombia 23:00–01:09
Sierra Leone 06:14–06:05
Guinea-Bissau 06:13–05:39
Togo 01:28–02:47
Portugal 19:13–18:33
Cameroon 01:20–03:27
Albania 11:25–19:10
Macedonia 11:27–20:31
Ecuador 05:16–00:54
Venezuela 23:11–01:09
Bulgaria 11:31–20:35
Central African Republic 01:22–04:06
The Canary Islands 19:05–18:11
Gambia 10:19–17:46
Cape Verde 18:56–17:51
Mallorca 10:51–18:43
Cyprus 12:13–20:21
Uruguay 23:09–02:01
Menorca 10:54–18:44
Ibiza 19:26–18:40
Malta 11:14–18:50
Melilla 19:25–18:29
Gibraltar 19:21–18:28
Montenegro 11:22–19:10
Serbia 11:24–20:37
Corsica 11:03–18:55
Madeira 19:06–18:14
The Savage Islands 19:09–18:10
Isla de Alborán 19:24–18:30
Islas Chafarinas 19:26–18:30

Lunar occultations are only ever visible from a small fraction of the Earth's surface. Since the Moon is much closer to the Earth than other celestial objects, its exact position in the sky differs depending on your exact location on Earth due to its large parallax. The position of the Moon as seen from two points on opposite sides of the Earth varies by up to two degrees, or four times the diameter of the full moon.

This means that if the Moon is aligned to pass in front of a particular object for an observer on one side of the Earth, it will appear up to two degrees away from that object on the other side of the Earth.

The position of Mars at the moment of the occultation will be as follows:

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Magnitude Angular Size
Mars 01h49m10s 6°41'N Pisces -1.9 0'19"

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0.

Next/previous occultations

« Previous Next »
Visible from the Contiguous United States Worldwide Worldwide Visible from the Contiguous United States
18 Feb 2020 09 Aug 2020 Occultations of Mars 03 Oct 2020 08 Dec 2022
18 Feb 2020 25 Aug 2020 Occultations 22 Sep 2020 22 Sep 2020

The sky on 05 Sep 2020

The sky on 05 September 2020
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

17-day old moon
Waning Gibbous


17 days old

Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 07:42 13:46 19:50
Venus 02:57 09:51 16:44
Moon 20:48 03:03 09:25
Mars 21:17 03:37 09:57
Jupiter 16:00 21:00 02:01
Saturn 16:30 21:35 02:40
All times shown in PDT.


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

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
30 Nov 2022  –  Mars at perigee

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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