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

Close approach of Mars and Neptune

Dominic Ford, Editor
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The sky at

The planets Mars and Neptune will make a close approach, passing within a mere 2.1 arcminutes of each other.

From Ashburn however, the pair will not be observable – they will reach their highest point in the sky during daytime and will be no higher than 10° above the horizon at dawn.

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Mars will be at mag 1.1; and Neptune will be at mag 7.9. Both objects will lie in the constellation Pisces.

They will be close enough to fit within the field of view of a telescope, but will also be visible 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 Mars and Neptune 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
Mars 23h56m30s -01°44' Pisces 1.1 4"7
Neptune 23h56m30s -01°42' Pisces 7.9 2"2

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0. The pair will be at an angular separation of 40° from the Sun, which is in Aries at this time of year.

The sky on 29 April 2024
Sunrise
06:12
Sunset
20:00
Twilight ends
21:44
Twilight begins
04:32

21-day old moon
Waning Gibbous

69%

21 days old

Planets
Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 05:25 11:42 18:00
Venus 05:57 12:33 19:10
Moon 01:10 05:40 10:06
Mars 04:38 10:35 16:33
Jupiter 07:02 14:06 21:10
Saturn 04:11 09:51 15:31
All times shown in EDT.

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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25 Sep 2026  –  Neptune 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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Ashburn

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39.04°N
77.49°W
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