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Moon and Mars conjunction THIS week – watch red planet ‘swing by Moon’ in stunning lunar spectacle

THE MOON and Mars will make a close approach to one another this week in a rare celestial get together.

Stargazers in the US and UK should be able to spot the dazzling event with the naked eye in the early hours of Sunday morning.

The Moon (top) and Mars during a conjunction event in 2018


The Moon (top) and Mars during a conjunction event in 2018Credit: AFP

The coming together, known to astronomers as a conjunction, will peak at 05:47 BST (00:47 ET), according to stargazing site

The popular page makes precise predictions about the positions of the planets using public data from Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

During Sunday’s showcase, the waxing crescent moon will swing about two degrees to the south of Mars in the sky.

The Red Planet will resemble a bright star.

The pair only swing close to one another every once in a while


The pair only swing close to one another every once in a whileCredit: Alamy

If you’re not an earlier riser or it’s too bright to see the conjunction from your location then there’s also a chance to catch them the night before.

This is advisable for stargazers in the UK.

“From the south of England, the pair will become visible around 21:13 (BST) as the dusk sky fades, 29° above your western horizon,” InTheSky reports.

“They will then sink towards the horizon, setting 3 hours and 56 minutes after the Sun at 00:45.”

Up north, they’ll become visible roughly half an hour later, at 21:45 BST.

The Moon will be at mag -10.6, and Mars at mag 1.7, both in the constellation Gemini.

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The pair will be too widely separated to be viewed with a telescope.

However, they should be visible with the naked eye or through a pair of binoculars.

Conjunctions of the Moon and Mars are relatively rare, but not unheard of. They typically occur a few times a year.

Mars remains particularly bright in the night sky after reaching opposition in October last year.

That’s the point where the planet is closest to Earth and more visible than at other times in the year. Mars reaches opposition roughly every 26 months.

Nasa releases historic first audio recording of rover driving on Mars

In other news, billionaire Elon Musk’s plot to colonise Mars may have been predicted by a German scientist 70 years ago.

ESA researchers think they’ve spotted an angel on Mars.

And a satellite that can look inside buildings at any time of day has been launched.

Are you a seasoned stargazer or just getting started? Let us know in the comments!

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