The planets Mercury and Mars will make a close approach, passing within a mere 14.6 arcminutes of each other.
Mercury will be at mag -0.2; and Mars will be at mag 1.3. Both objects will lie in the constellation Sagittarius.
They will be close enough to fit within the field of view of a telescope, but will also be visible to the naked eye or through a pair of binoculars.
A graph of the angular separation between Mercury and Mars around the time of closest approach is available here.
The positions of the pair at the moment of closest approach will be as follows:
|Object||Right Ascension||Declination||Constellation||Magnitude||Angular Size|
The coordinates above are given in J2000.0. The pair will be at an angular separation of 19° from the Sun, which is in Capricornus at this time of year.
|The sky on 27 January 2024|
16 days old
All times shown in EST.
Never attempt to point a pair of binoculars or a telescope at an object close to the Sun. Doing so may result in immediate and permanent blindness.
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.
|08 Dec 2022||– Mars at opposition|
|12 Jan 2025||– Mars at perigee|
|15 Jan 2025||– Mars at opposition|
|19 Feb 2027||– Mars at opposition|
The Moon in conjunction with Venus and Jupiter, with the Very Large Telescope in the foreground. Image © Y. Beletsky, ESO, 2009.