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Close approach of Mercury and Mars

Dominic Ford, Editor
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The sky at

Mercury and Mars will make a close approach, passing within 0°14' of each other.

From Fairfield however, the pair will not be observable – they will reach their highest point in the sky during daytime and will be no higher than 4° above the horizon at dawn.

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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.

At around the same time, the pair will also share the same right ascension – called a conjunction.

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
Mercury 19h14m10s -22°54' Sagittarius -0.2 5"4
Mars 19h14m10s -23°08' Sagittarius 1.3 4"0

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
Sunrise
07:08
Sunset
17:02
Twilight ends
18:37
Twilight begins
05:33

16-day old moon
Waning Gibbous

96%

16 days old

Planets
Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 06:05 10:42 15:19
Venus 05:11 09:49 14:28
Moon 19:10 01:17 08:25
Mars 06:06 10:42 15:18
Jupiter 10:57 17:45 00:37
Saturn 08:35 14:00 19:24
All times shown in EST.

Warning

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.

Source

The circumstances of this event were computed using the DE405 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

18 Nov 2023  –  Mars at solar conjunction
08 May 2024  –  Mars at perihelion
12 Jan 2025  –  Mars at perigee
15 Jan 2025  –  Mars at opposition

Image credit

None available.

Fairfield

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Longitude:
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41.14°N
73.26°W
EDT

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