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

Lunar occultation of Mars

Dominic Ford, Editor
From the Lunar Occultations feed

Objects: Mars

The Moon will pass in front of Mars, creating a lunar occultation visible from countries and territories including Canada, Greenland, eastern Russia and Alaska amongst others.

Unfortunately the occultation will not be visible from Seattle, though a close conjunction between the pair will be more widely visible.

The map below shows the visibility of the occultation across the world. Separate contours show where the disappearance of Mars is visible (shown in red), and where its reappearance is visible (shown in blue). Solid contours show where each event is likely to be visible through binoculars at a reasonable altitude in the sky. Dotted contours indicate where each event occurs above the horizon, but may not be visible due to the sky being too bright or the Moon being very close to the horizon.

Map showing where the occultation is visible

Outside of the contours, the Moon does not pass in front of Mars at any time, or is below the horizon at the time of the occultation. However, a close conjunction between the pair may be visible.

The map can be downloaded in PNG , PDF or SVG format. A KMZ file , is also available, which can be opened in Google Earth to provide a higher resolution map.

A complete list of the countries and territories where the occultation will be visible is as follows:

Country Time span
Canada 18:42–19:05
Greenland 09:27–19:13
Russia 08:31–04:16
Alaska 15:38–12:21
Norway 13:19–05:10
Sweden 13:24–05:16
Great Britain 19:12–19:49
Svalbard 12:57–20:23
Iceland 12:41–19:14
Finland 13:22–05:13
Ireland 19:10–19:44
France 19:14–20:09
Spain 19:12–20:21
Northern Ireland 13:11–19:38
Faroe Islands 12:51–04:56
Shetland 12:53–05:01
The Portuguese Azores 18:43–00:18
Orkney 12:58–05:00
Svalbard and Jan Mayen 13:01–04:50
Portugal 19:13–20:15
Isle of Man 13:13–19:37
Saint Pierre and Miquelon 18:53–19:00
Jersey 21:00–19:50
Guernsey 21:01–19:50

Lunar occultations are only ever visible from a small fraction of the Earth's surface. Since the Moon is much closer to the Earth than other celestial objects, its exact position in the sky differs depending on your exact location on Earth due to its large parallax. The position of the Moon as seen from two points on opposite sides of the Earth varies by up to two degrees, or four times the diameter of the full moon.

This means that if the Moon is aligned to pass in front of a particular object for an observer on one side of the Earth, it will appear up to two degrees away from that object on the other side of the Earth.

The position of Mars at the moment of the occultation will be as follows:

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Magnitude Angular Size
Mars 08h32m30s 22°16'N Cancer -0.9 0'13"

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0.

Next/previous occultations

« Previous Next »
Visible from the Contiguous United States Worldwide Worldwide Visible from the Contiguous United States
31 Jan 2023 05 May 2024 Occultations of Mars 14 Jan 2025 14 Jan 2025
27 Nov 2024 15 Dec 2024 Occultations 24 Dec 2024 14 Jan 2025

The sky on 18 Dec 2024

The sky on 18 December 2024
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

17-day old moon
Waning Gibbous


17 days old

Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 06:02 10:39 15:15
Venus 10:45 15:20 19:56
Moon 18:40 02:56 10:55
Mars 19:00 02:51 10:42
Jupiter 15:20 23:08 06:57
Saturn 11:52 17:18 22:44
All times shown in PST.


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

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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