The Moon in conjunction with Venus and Jupiter, with the Very Large Telescope in the foreground. Image © Y. Beletsky, ESO, 2009.

Lunar occultation of Mars

Dominic Ford, Editor
From the Lunar Occultations feed

Objects: Mars

The Moon will pass in front of Mars, creating a lunar occultation visible from eastern Russia, north-eastern Japan, north-eastern China and south-eastern Alaska. Although the occultation will only be visible across part of the world – because the Moon is so close to the Earth that its position in the sky varies by as much as two degrees across the world – a close conjunction between the pair will be more widely visible.

Unfortunately the occultation will not be visible from San Diego.

The map below shows the visibility of the occultation across the world. Separate contours show where the disappearance of Mars is visible (shown in red), and where its reappearance is visible (shown in blue). Solid contours show where each event is likely to be visible through binoculars at a reasonable altitude in the sky. Dotted contours indicate where each event occurs above the horizon, but may not be visible due to the sky being too bright or the Moon being very close to the horizon.

Map showing where the occultation is visible

Outside the contours, the Moon will not pass in front of Mars at any time, or is below the horizon at the time of the occultation. However, a close conjunction between the pair will be visible across much of the world.

The map can be downloaded in PNG , PDF or SVG format. A KMZ file , is also available, which can be opened in Google Earth to provide a higher resolution map.

The animation below shows the path of the occultation across the Earth's globe. The red circle shows where the Moon appears in front of Mars.

You can download this video in MP4 or OGG format.

A complete list of the countries and territories where the occultation will be visible is as follows:

Country Time span
(UTC)
Russia 14:44–16:31
Japan 14:38–15:38
China 14:49–15:49
Alaska 15:13–15:51

Lunar occultations are only ever visible from a small fraction of the Earth's surface. Since the Moon is much closer to the Earth than other celestial objects, its exact position in the sky differs depending on your exact location on Earth due to its large parallax. The position of the Moon as seen from two points on opposite sides of the Earth varies by up to two degrees, or four times the diameter of the full moon.

This means that if the Moon is aligned to pass in front of a particular object for an observer on one side of the Earth, it will appear up to two degrees away from that object on the other side of the Earth.

The position of Mars at the moment of the occultation will be as follows:

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Magnitude Angular Size
Mars 02h36m20s 13°26'N Aries 0.3 0'07"

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0.

Next/previous occultations

« Previous Next »
Visible from the Contiguous United States Worldwide Worldwide Visible from the Contiguous United States
18 Feb 2020 22 Jun 2022 Occultations of Mars 08 Dec 2022 08 Dec 2022
13 Jun 2022 13 Jul 2022 Occultations 06 Aug 2022 12 Oct 2022

The sky on 21 Jul 2022

The sky on 21 July 2022
Sunrise
05:52
Sunset
19:54
Twilight ends
21:31
Twilight begins
04:15

22-day old moon
Waning Crescent

34%

22 days old

Planets
Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 06:19 13:18 20:18
Venus 04:02 11:08 18:14
Moon 00:37 07:22 14:16
Mars 00:49 07:27 14:06
Jupiter 23:16 05:24 11:32
Saturn 21:12 02:36 07:59
All times shown in PDT.

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

13 Nov 2020  –  Mars ends retrograde motion
30 Oct 2022  –  Mars enters retrograde motion
30 Nov 2022  –  Mars at perigee
07 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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San Diego

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32.72°N
117.16°W
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