The Moon and Mars will make a close approach, passing within a mere 55.6 arcminutes of each other. The Moon will be 27 days old.
From Cambridge, the pair will be visible in the dawn sky, rising at 05:13 (EDT) – 1 hour and 58 minutes before the Sun – and reaching an altitude of 13° above the south-eastern horizon before fading from view as dawn breaks around 06:51.
The Moon will be at mag -9.7; and Mars will be at mag 1.5. Both objects will lie in the constellation Ophiuchus.
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.
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 coordinates above are given in J2000.0. The pair will be at an angular separation of 27° from the Sun, which is in Sagittarius at this time of year.
|The sky on 31 December 2021|
27 days old
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.
|13 Oct 2020||– Mars at opposition|
|30 Nov 2022||– Mars at perigee|
|08 Dec 2022||– Mars at opposition|
|12 Jan 2025||– Mars at perigee|
The Moon in conjunction with Venus and Jupiter, with the Very Large Telescope in the foreground. Image © Y. Beletsky, ESO, 2009.