The Moon in conjunction with Venus and Jupiter, with the Very Large Telescope in the foreground. Image © Y. Beletsky, ESO, 2009.

Close approach of Venus and Mars

Dominic Ford, Editor
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The sky at

The planets Venus and Mars will make a close approach, passing within a mere 37.4 arcminutes 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 6° above the horizon at dawn.

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Venus will be at mag -3.9; and Mars will be at mag 1.3. Both objects will lie in the constellation Capricornus.

They will be a little too widely separated to fit comfortably within the field of view of a telescope, but will 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 Venus 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
Venus 20h37m00s -18°57' Capricornus -3.9 11"3
Mars 20h37m20s -19°34' Capricornus 1.3 4"1

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0. The pair will be at an angular separation of 26° from the Sun, which is in Aquarius at this time of year.

The sky on 22 February 2024
Sunrise
06:39
Sunset
17:35
Twilight ends
19:07
Twilight begins
05:07

13-day old moon
Waxing Gibbous

97%

13 days old

Planets
Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 06:40 11:53 17:07
Venus 05:33 10:27 15:20
Moon 15:45 23:17 06:35
Mars 05:35 10:26 15:18
Jupiter 09:22 16:15 23:08
Saturn 07:01 12:29 17:57
All times shown in EST.

Source

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.

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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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