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 a mere 55.6 arcminutes of each other. The Moon will be 27 days old.

From Fairfield, the pair will be visible in the dawn sky, rising at 05:19 (EST) – 2 hours and 1 minute before the Sun – and reaching an altitude of 14° above the south-eastern horizon before fading from view as dawn breaks around 06:59.

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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.

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 16h43m50s -23°20' Ophiuchus -9.7 33'14"8
Mars 16h44m50s -22°26' Ophiuchus 1.5 3"9

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
Sunrise
07:18
Sunset
16:33
Twilight ends
18:13
Twilight begins
05:39

27-day old moon
Waning Crescent

5%

27 days old

Planets
Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 08:33 13:12 17:51
Venus 07:56 12:50 17:45
Moon 05:03 09:43 14:23
Mars 05:18 09:57 14:36
Jupiter 10:03 15:22 20:42
Saturn 09:12 14:09 19:06
All times shown in EST.

Source

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

08 Oct 2021  –  Mars at solar conjunction
21 Jun 2022  –  Mars at perihelion
30 Nov 2022  –  Mars at perigee
08 Dec 2022  –  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.

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41.14°N
73.26°W
EST

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