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.
Mars's distance from the Sun doesn't affect its appearance. From Ashburn, at the moment of aphelion it will become visible around 20:24 (EST) as the dusk sky fades, 70° above your south-western horizon. It will then sink towards the horizon, setting at 03:03.
The position of Mars at the moment it passes aphelion will be:
|Object||Right Ascension||Declination||Constellation||Magnitude||Angular Size|
The coordinates above are given in J2000.0.
|The sky on 16 April 2025|
18 days old
All times shown in EDT.
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.
|16 Apr 2025||– Mars at aphelion|
|30 Nov 2025||– Mars at apogee|
|09 Jan 2026||– Mars at solar conjunction|
|26 Mar 2026||– Mars at perihelion|
© NASA/Hubble Space Telescope