It’s time to take out the telescope.
Monday evening (January 30), the the moon will eclipse Mars in what is called an occultation, during which the moon will pass in front March From the point of view of Earth.
Unfortunately, only a small portion of the planet will be able to see the occultation, but that includes the southern United States, from southern California to northern Florida, and as far north as Oklahoma, according to the sky observation site. In-the-sky.org. (opens in a new tab) Other viewing areas include Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America, and northwestern South America. A complete list of viewing times by location for the Mars lunar occultation and moon and red planet pulse can be found on Space.com courtesy of veteran skywatcher Joe Rao.
For those unable to view the event in person, the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles is hosting a free online live stream of the Mars lunar occultation courtesy of the observatory’s website. (opens in a new tab) or his YouTube channel (opens in a new tab). The live stream begins Monday, January 30 at 11:00 p.m. EST (04:00 GMT on January 31) and will last two hours.
Related: Don’t miss the Mars lunar eclipse next week on Monday (January 30)
For those living outside the lunar occultation visibility area, you will still be able to witness the conjunction of the moon and Mars, as the two celestial bodies will share the same right ascension (celestial equivalent of latitude) in a arrangement known as a conjunction. They will also perform a close approach, called an impulse.
From New York, the moon and Mars will be just a tenth of a degree apart, according to In-the-sky.org (opens in a new tab). The duo will be visible from 12:10 p.m. EST (5:10 p.m. GMT) to 3:23 a.m. EST (08:23 GMT), and they can fit into the field of view of a telescope. You will also be able to view the pair with binoculars and with the naked eye.
As a 10-day moon in its waxing gibbous phase, its surface will be 74% illuminated from Earth’s perspective. It will be quite bright at magnitude -12.3, while Mars will be noticeably dimmer at magnitude -0.3.
The Moon and Mars will be less bright than they were during their last occultation, which occurred in December 2022 during a full moon.
Related: What is the moon phase today? Lunar phases 2023
If you need to prepare for tonight’s occultation (or conjunction or pulse) of the Moon and Mars, we’ve prepared guides for best telescopes and best binoculars to help you. And for astrophotographers – budding or experienced – we have also noted the best cameras for astrophotography and the best lenses for astrophotography and put together a guide on how to photograph the moon.
Editor’s note: If you get a great photo of the close approach or conjunction between Mars and the Moon and want to share it with Space.com readers, submit your photo(s), comments, and your name and location. to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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