© NASA/Hubble Space Telescope

Mars at perihelion

Dominic Ford, Editor
From the Outer Planets feed

Objects: Mars
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Mars's 687-day orbit around the Sun will carry it to its closest point to the Sun – its perihelion – at a distance of 1.38 AU.

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.

Finding Mars

Mars's distance from the Sun doesn't affect its appearance. From Ashburn, at the moment of perihelion it will be visible in the dawn sky, rising at 02:04 (EDT) – 3 hours and 37 minutes before the Sun – and reaching an altitude of 33° above the eastern horizon before fading from view as dawn breaks around 05:02.

Begin typing the name of a town near to you, and then select the town from the list of options which appear below.

A chart of the path of Mars across the sky in 2022 can be found here, and a chart of its rising and setting times here.

The position of Mars at the moment it passes perihelion will be:

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Magnitude Angular Size
Mars 01h16m30s 6°07'N Pisces 0.5 7.0"

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0.

The sky on 21 Jun 2022

The sky on 21 June 2022
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

22-day old moon
Waning Crescent


22 days old

Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 04:28 11:36 18:43
Venus 03:50 10:55 18:00
Moon 01:32 07:31 13:41
Mars 02:04 08:27 14:50
Jupiter 01:28 07:36 13:43
Saturn 23:46 05:01 10:16
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.

Related news

13 Oct 2020  –  Mars at opposition
30 Nov 2022  –  Mars at perigee
08 Dec 2022  –  Mars at opposition
12 Jan 2025  –  Mars at perigee

Image credit

© NASA/Hubble Space Telescope






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