Mars is about to be eclipsed by the moon. Here’s how to watch.
It’s time to get out the telescope.
On Monday evening (January 30), the moon will eclipse Mars in what is known as an occultation, during which the moon will pass in front of Mars from Earth’s perspective.
Unfortunately, only a small part of the planet will be able to see the occultation, but it does include the southern United States, from southern California to northern Florida, and as far north as Oklahoma, according to sky-watching website In-the- sky.org. (opens in new tab) Other viewing areas include Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America and Northwest South America. A complete list of viewing times by location for both the lunar occultation of Mars and the appulse of the moon and the Red Planet can be found on Live Science’s sister site Space.com (opens in new tab) courtesy of the veteran skywatcher Joe Rao.
For those unable to see the event in person, the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles is offering a free online live stream of the lunar occultation of Mars courtesy of the observatory’s website (opens in new tab) or its YouTube -channel (opens in new tab). The live stream will begin on Monday (January 30) at 11:00 PM EST (0400 GMT on January 31) and will last for two hours.
An illustration of the night sky on Monday (January 30) showing the close approach of Mars and the moon. (Image credit: Starry Night Software)
For those living outside the visibility zone of the lunar occultation, 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 an arrangement known as a conjunction. They will also make a close approach, known as an appulse.
From New York City, the moon and Mars will be just one-tenth of a degree apart, according to In-the-sky.org (opens in new tab). The duo will be visible from 12:10 pm EST (1710 GMT) to 3:23 am EST (0823 GMT), and they will be able to fit within the field of view of a telescope. You will also be able to see the pair with binoculars and the naked eye.
As a 10-day-old moon in its waxing gibbous phase, its surface will illuminate 74 percent from Earth’s perspective. It will be quite bright with a magnitude of -12.3, while Mars will be significantly less bright with a magnitude of -0.3.
Both the moon and Mars will be less bright than they were during their last occultation, which occurred during a full moon in December 2022.
Originally posted on Space.com.