Conjunction between the Moon and Mars

2016 Dec 5

Dominic Ford – originally published on

The Moon and Mars will make a close approach, passing within 2°52' of each other.

From London (click to change), the pair will be visible in the evening sky. They will become visible at around 16:16 (GMT) as the dusk sky fades, 22° above your southern horizon. They will then reach its highest point in the sky at 16:29, 22° above your southern horizon. They will continue to be observable until around 20:01, when they sink to 8° above your south-western horizon.

At the moment of closest approach, the Moon will be at mag -11.3 in the constellation Aquarius, and Mars at mag 0.2 in the neighbouring constellation of Capricornus.

The pair will be too widely separated to fit within the field of view of a telescope, but will be visible to the naked eye or through a pair of binoculars.

The precise positions of the Moon and Mars at the moment of closest approach will be as follows:

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Magnitude Angular Size
The Moon 21h25m30s -13°32' Aquarius -11.3 30'42"0
Mars 21h28m10s -16°20' Capricornus 0.2 6"3

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0. The pair will be at an angular separation of 66° from the Sun, which is in Ophiuchus at this time of year.

The details of this observing event were provided courtesy of