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 5°03' of each other. The Moon will be 9 days old.

From Ashburn, the pair will be visible in the evening sky, becoming accessible around 17:10 (EDT) as the dusk sky fades, 47° above your south-eastern horizon. They will then reach their highest point in the sky at 19:25, 60° above your southern horizon. They will continue to be observable until around 01:16, when they sink below 7° above your western horizon.

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The Moon will be at mag -12.2; and Mars will be at mag -0.5. Both objects will lie in the constellation Pisces.

They will be too widely separated to fit within the field of view of a telescope or pair of binoculars, but will be visible to the naked eye.

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 01h35m20s +05°15' Pisces -12.2 29'30"6
Mars 01h26m50s +09°52' Pisces -0.5 11"3

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0. The pair will be at an angular separation of 111° from the Sun, which is in Sagittarius at this time of year.

The sky on 23 December 2020
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

9-day old moon
Waxing Gibbous


9 days old

Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 07:42 12:16 16:51
Venus 05:41 10:32 15:23
Moon 13:13 19:36 01:14
Mars 12:52 19:27 02:02
Jupiter 09:17 14:10 19:03
Saturn 09:20 14:12 19:05
All times shown in EST.


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.

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12 Jul 2021  –  Mars at aphelion
20 Sep 2021  –  Mars at apogee
07 Oct 2021  –  Mars at solar conjunction

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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