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 Cambridge, at the moment of perihelion it will be visible in the dawn sky, rising at 01:37 (EST) – 3 hours and 31 minutes before the Sun – and reaching an altitude of 29° above the eastern horizon before fading from view as dawn breaks around 04:25.
The exact position of Mars at the moment it passes perihelion will be:
|Object||Right Ascension||Declination||Constellation||Magnitude||Angular Size|
The coordinates above are given in J2000.0.
|The sky on 21 June 2022|
22 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.
|21 Jun 2022||– Mars at perihelion|
|30 Nov 2022||– Mars at perigee|
|08 Dec 2022||– Mars at opposition|
|30 May 2023||– Mars at aphelion|
© NASA/Hubble Space Telescope