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 countries and territories including the Contiguous United States, Mexico, Colombia and Venezuela amongst others.

Unfortunately the occultation will not be visible from Fairfield, though it will be visible elsewhere in the Contiguous United States anda 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
The Contiguous United States 02:31–13:14
Mexico 17:22–08:00
Colombia 23:00–09:05
Venezuela 23:11–09:08
Ecuador 09:35–11:25
Peru 22:57–09:03
Cuba 18:51–00:41
Nicaragua 00:05–08:28
Honduras 00:05–08:19
Guatemala 00:05–08:08
Panama 00:08–08:44
Costa Rica 00:05–08:33
Dominican Republic 19:01–00:38
Haiti 19:01–00:40
Bahamas 18:43–00:47
Belize 00:06–08:04
El Salvador 00:05–08:14
Jamaica 19:09–08:15
Puerto Rico 19:03–00:43
Turks and Caicos Islands 18:57–00:45
British Virgin Islands 19:03–00:44
Cayman Islands 19:07–08:01
Curacao 00:30–08:43
U.S. Virgin Islands 19:03–00:44
Brazil 22:54–09:20
Anguilla 00:30–00:46
Bonaire, Saint Eustatius and Saba 00:30–08:43
Aruba 00:23–08:41
Sint Maarten 00:31–00:46
Saint Barthelemy 00:31–00:46
Saint Martin 00:30–00:46
Clipperton Island 12:23–10:36
Navassa Island 19:07–08:05

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 04h30m40s 24°36'N Taurus -0.3 0'10"

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 03 Jan 2023 Occultations of Mars 28 Feb 2023 14 Jan 2025
08 Dec 2022 29 Jan 2023 Occultations 14 Feb 2023 17 May 2023

The sky on 30 Jan 2023

The sky on 30 January 2023
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

9-day old moon
Waxing Gibbous


9 days old

Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 05:38 10:20 15:02
Venus 08:17 13:40 19:03
Moon 11:52 19:35 03:27
Mars 12:05 19:43 03:21
Jupiter 09:28 15:35 21:42
Saturn 07:54 13:06 18:18
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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