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
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The Moon will pass in front of Mars, creating a lunar occultation visible from the Americas and Africa. Although the occultation will only be visible across part of the world – because the Moon is so close to the Earth that its position in the sky varies by as much as two degrees across the world – a close conjunction between the pair will be more widely visible.

The occultation will be visible from Fairfield. It will begin with the disappearance of Mars behind the Moon at 21:21 EST in the eastern sky at an altitude of 50.5 degrees. Its reappearance will be visible at 22:39 EST at an altitude of 64.3 degrees.

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 the contours, the Moon will 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 will be visible across much of the world.

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.

The animation below shows the path of the occultation across the Earth's globe. The red circle shows where the Moon appears in front of Mars.

You can download this video in MP4 or OGG format.

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

Country Time span
The Contiguous United States 01:48–03:48
Canada 02:12–04:07
Mexico 01:45–02:49
Algeria 04:27–05:31
Mali 04:32–05:46
Niger 04:46–05:44
Mauritania 04:22–05:40
Nigeria 04:49–05:51
Chad 04:55–05:43
Cameroon 04:55–05:51
Morocco 04:21–05:18
Ivory Coast 04:45–05:51
Western Sahara 04:20–05:31
Burkina Faso 04:44–05:47
Guinea 04:38–05:48
Ghana 04:47–05:51
Senegal 04:30–05:43
Gabon 04:58–05:53
Benin 04:49–05:50
Liberia 04:47–05:49
Sierra Leone 04:43–05:47
Togo 04:48–05:50
Guinea-Bissau 04:37–05:42
Central African Republic 04:56–05:45
Equatorial Guinea 04:57–05:52
The Canary Islands 04:12–05:18
Gambia 04:35–05:41
Bahamas 02:27–03:04
Cape Verde 04:21–05:31
The Portuguese Azores 03:39–04:52
Portugal 04:33–04:44
Sao Tome and Principe 04:58–05:53
Republic of the Congo 04:58–05:43
Saint Pierre and Miquelon 02:52–04:03
Bermuda 02:41–03:50
Madeira 04:11–05:05
The Savage Islands 04:14–05:13

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.

At the time of the occultation, the Moon will be 6 days past new moon and will be 100% illuminated. Mars will disappear behind the illuminated side of the Moon and reappear from behind the unilluminated side of the Moon.

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

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Magnitude Angular Size
Mars 07h58m10s 25°00'N Gemini -1.4 0'14"

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 18 Dec 2024 Occultations of Mars 09 Feb 2025 11 Nov 2035
27 Nov 2024 11 Jan 2025 Occultations 21 Jan 2025 07 Mar 2025

The sky on 13 Jan 2025

The sky on 13 January 2025
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

14-day old moon
Waning Gibbous


14 days old

Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 06:18 10:51 15:24
Venus 09:32 15:07 20:42
Moon 15:10 --:-- 07:26
Mars 16:40 00:20 07:59
Jupiter 13:34 20:59 04:23
Saturn 09:51 15:27 21:03
All times shown in EST.


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
23 Feb 2025  –  Mars ends retrograde motion
10 Jan 2027  –  Mars enters retrograde motion

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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