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. 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 Fairfield.

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
Democratic Republic of the Congo 18:33–20:38
South Africa 18:15–20:17
Angola 18:12–20:14
Tanzania 18:56–21:07
Namibia 18:10–20:10
Mozambique 18:48–21:04
Zambia 18:27–20:44
Ethiopia 19:39–21:13
Madagascar 19:33–21:23
Botswana 18:20–20:13
Kenya 19:17–21:12
Somalia 19:36–21:20
Zimbabwe 18:33–20:33
Sudan 19:25–20:50
Uganda 19:07–20:52
Republic of the Congo 18:42–19:42
Malawi 18:57–20:47
Central African Republic 19:31–20:14
Burundi 18:59–20:40
Rwanda 19:02–20:40
Gabon 18:54–19:27
Swaziland 18:52–20:10
Maldives 20:59–21:44
Mauritius 20:11–21:25
Reunion 20:07–21:19
Seychelles 19:42–21:39
Comoros 19:31–21:10
British Indian Ocean Territory 20:45–21:52
Mayotte 19:36–21:13
Saint Helena 17:53–19:02
Lesotho 18:44–19:54

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
21 Dec 2022 01 Jan 2023 Occultations 17 Jan 2023 31 Jan 2023

The sky on 3 Jan 2023

The sky on 3 January 2023
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

11-day old moon
Waxing Gibbous


11 days old

Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 07:42 12:31 17:20
Venus 08:29 13:12 17:55
Moon 13:51 21:38 05:33
Mars 13:46 21:23 05:01
Jupiter 11:05 17:06 23:07
Saturn 09:32 14:40 19:49
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 2023  –  Mars ends retrograde motion
06 Dec 2024  –  Mars enters retrograde motion
12 Jan 2025  –  Mars at perigee

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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