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 Fairfield, at the moment of aphelion it will become visible around 21:12 (EST) as the dusk sky fades, 32° above your western horizon. It will then sink towards the horizon, setting at 00:17.
The position of Mars at the moment it passes aphelion will be:
|Object||Right Ascension||Declination||Constellation||Magnitude||Angular Size|
The coordinates above are given in J2000.0.
|The sky on 30 May 2023|
11 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.
|30 May 2023||– Mars at aphelion|
|18 Oct 2023||– Mars at apogee|
|18 Nov 2023||– Mars at solar conjunction|
|08 May 2024||– Mars at perihelion|
© NASA/Hubble Space Telescope