Unlike most of the planets, which follow almost exactly circular orbits around the Sun which only vary in their distance from the Sun by a few percent, Mars has a significantly elliptical orbit. Its distance from the Sun varies between 1.38 AU and 1.67 AU – a variation of over 20% – meaning that it receives 31% less heat and light from the Sun at aphelion as compared to perihelion.
Mars's distance from the Sun doesn't affect its appearance. From Fairfield, at the moment of aphelion it will not be observable – it will reach its highest point in the sky during daytime and will be no higher than 5° above the horizon at dusk.
The position of Mars at the moment it passes aphelion will be:
|Object||Right Ascension||Declination||Constellation||Magnitude||Angular Size|
The coordinates above are given in J2000.0.
|The sky on 12 July 2021|
2 days old
All times shown in EDT.
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.
|13 Oct 2020||– Mars at opposition|
|30 Nov 2022||– Mars at perigee|
|08 Dec 2022||– Mars at opposition|
|12 Jan 2025||– Mars at perigee|
© NASA/Hubble Space Telescope