© NASA/Hubble Space Telescope

Mars at perihelion

Dominic Ford, Editor
From the Outer Planets feed

Objects: Mars
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The sky at

Mars's 687-day orbit around the Sun will carry it to its closest point to the Sun – its perihelion – at a distance of 1.38 AU.

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.

Finding Mars

Mars's distance from the Sun doesn't affect its appearance. From Fairfield, at the moment of perihelion it will not be observable – it will reach its highest point in the sky during daytime and will be no higher than 9° above the horizon at dawn.

Begin typing the name of a town near to you, and then select the town from the list of options which appear below.

A chart of the path of Mars across the sky in 2024 can be found here, and a chart of its rising and setting times here.

The exact position of Mars at the moment it passes perihelion will be:

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Magnitude Angular Size
Mars 00h22m40s 1°05'N Pisces 1.1 4.8"

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0.

The sky on 08 May 2024
Sunrise
05:40
Sunset
20:00
Twilight ends
21:48
Twilight begins
03:52

30-day old moon
Waxing Crescent

0%

30 days old

Planets
Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 04:51 11:14 17:37
Venus 05:27 12:21 19:15
Moon 05:40 13:17 21:07
Mars 04:01 10:08 16:15
Jupiter 06:10 13:21 20:32
Saturn 03:24 09:03 14:42
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.

Related news

08 Dec 2022  –  Mars at opposition
12 Jan 2025  –  Mars at perigee
15 Jan 2025  –  Mars at opposition
19 Feb 2027  –  Mars at opposition

Image credit

© NASA/Hubble Space Telescope

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41.14°N
73.26°W
EDT

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