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 Africa.

Unfortunately the occultation will not be visible from Ashburn, though a close conjunction between the pair will be more widely visible.

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 of the contours, the Moon does 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 may be visible.

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.

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

Country Time span
Democratic Republic of the Congo 00:50–03:49
South Africa 00:49–02:27
Angola 00:47–00:56
Tanzania 00:54–02:29
Namibia 00:46–03:07
Mozambique 00:50–03:07
Zambia 00:47–03:24
Ethiopia 01:17–03:01
Madagascar 01:08–02:37
Botswana 00:47–03:00
Kenya 01:02–02:51
Somalia 01:07–03:04
Zimbabwe 00:48–02:50
Sudan 01:19–03:55
Uganda 01:05–02:31
Republic of the Congo 01:08–03:29
Malawi 00:52–03:20
Central African Republic 21:38–03:50
Burundi 00:59–01:59
Rwanda 01:02–02:05
Swaziland 01:00–02:26
Gabon 21:28–03:12
Maldives 22:57–19:01
Mauritius 00:34–02:33
Reunion 00:34–02:34
Seychelles 01:07–02:35
Comoros 01:03–02:33
British Indian Ocean Territory 22:56–19:23
Mayotte 01:06–02:35
Saint Helena 21:59–00:14
Lesotho 01:02–02:20

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 04h24m20s 24°29'N Taurus -1.1 0'14"

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
08 Dec 2022 08 Dec 2022 Occultations of Mars 31 Jan 2023 31 Jan 2023
08 Dec 2022 01 Jan 2023 Occultations 17 Jan 2023 31 Jan 2023

The sky on 03 Jan 2023

The sky on 03 January 2023
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

11-day old moon
Waxing Gibbous


11 days old

Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 07:54 12:48 17:43
Venus 08:40 13:29 18:18
Moon 14:16 21:56 05:43
Mars 14:10 21:40 05:10
Jupiter 11:22 17:23 23:23
Saturn 09:45 14:57 20:09
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.

Related news

08 Dec 2022  –  Mars at opposition
12 Jan 2025  –  Mars at perigee
15 Jan 2025  –  Mars at opposition
19 Feb 2027  –  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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