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 2°42' of each other. The Moon will be 13 days old.

From Ashburn, the pair will be visible in the evening sky, becoming accessible around 18:28 (EDT) as the dusk sky fades, 11° above your eastern horizon. They will then reach its highest point in the sky at 23:37, 55° above your southern horizon. They will continue to be observable until around 05:16, when they sink below 7° above your western horizon.

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The Moon will be at mag -12.5 in the constellation Cetus, and Mars at mag -2.2 in the neighbouring constellation of Pisces.

The pair 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 two objects 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 two objects at the moment of closest approach will be as follows:

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Magnitude Angular Size
The Moon 01h08m10s +02°15' Cetus -12.5 29'24"7
Mars 01h03m40s +04°43' Pisces -2.2 20"4

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0. The pair will be at an angular separation of 159° from the Sun, which is in Virgo at this time of year.

The sky on 29 October 2020
Sunrise
07:33
Sunset
18:11
Twilight ends
19:41
Twilight begins
06:03

13-day old moon
Waxing Gibbous

96%

13 days old

Planets
Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 06:52 12:20 17:49
Venus 04:38 10:44 16:50
Moon 17:43 23:58 05:18
Mars 17:19 23:37 06:00
Jupiter 13:18 18:04 22:49
Saturn 13:37 18:26 23:16
All times shown in EDT.

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

13 Oct 2020  –  Mars at opposition
08 Dec 2022  –  Mars at opposition
15 Jan 2025  –  Mars at opposition
19 Feb 2027  –  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.

Ashburn

Latitude:
Longitude:
Timezone:

39.04°N
77.49°W
EDT

Color scheme