Watch Mars at opposition meet the full moon next week (December 7)
Watch Mars at opposition meet the full moon next week (December 7)
Every once in a while, something will appear in the sky that will catch the attention of even those who don’t normally bother to look up.
That is likely to be the case on Wednesday afternoon (December 7) when the full moon will appear very close to the bright now. planet mars. In fact, the moon will become full at 11:08 PM EST (0408 GMT on December 8) followed by Mars arriving at opposition to the sun just 87 minutes later. This will result in near perfect alignment in the space of the sunland, moon and Mars
People, who are unaware or have no prior notice, will almost certainly be wondering, as they cast a casual glance towards our nearest neighbor in space on this first Wednesday of December, what is this “bright yellow-orange light”? Sometimes these occasions bring a sudden rash of phone calls to radio and television stations, local planetariums, weather offices and police commissioners. Not a few of these callers are excitedly asking about “the mysterious UFO” hovering near our natural satellite!
If you don’t live in any of the places below that offer a good chance of seeing the event in person, you’re in luck: The Virtual Telescope Project will be hosting a Live broadcast of Mars in opposition (opens in a new tab) starting at 11:00 PM EST on December 7 (04:00 GMT on December 8).
Related: December 2022 Full Moon: The Cold Moon hides Mars
Joe Rao is a veteran meteorologist and eclipse chaser who also serves as an instructor and guest lecturer at the Hayden Planetarium in New York.
Where to see the lunar eclipse of Mars
As a bonus, those north and west of a line roughly from Piedras Negras, Mexico to Louisville, Kentucky to Seabrook, New Hampshire will see Mars’ hidden moon. See the map of the USA. Those to the south and east of this line, however, will see the moon completely miss the planet, barely passing right over it (called apulsa).
But to an observer fortuitously positioned exactly or immediately adjacent to this line (it’s actually a narrow path about 21 miles (34 km) wide), the lower limb of the moon will appear to literally graze Mars as it passes.
For those who happen to be located along the path’s northern edge, the dazzling disc of topaz may appear to disappear entirely and then reappear intermittently in the lunar valleys. In contrast, along the southern edge of the path, the northern edge of Mars will only briefly touch the moon’s limb.
Towns and cities located along the way include Morgantown, WV; Scranton, PA; Hudson, New York; Northampton, MA; Lowell, MA and Seabrook, NH. Check out the mars hide pasture path maps.
Unlike a star that is a point of light and would disappear and reappear in an instant, Mars appears as a small disk in telescopes; due to its relatively large angular size (17.2 arcseconds in diameter), occultation will occur at a fairly “slow” rate. So the disappearance of Mars behind the bright limb of the moon for most places will take anywhere from about 40 seconds to almost a minute (or even longer as the limb of the moon approaches it in an inclined manner).
From Austin, for example, the moon’s slow eastward drift will take more than two minutes to fully cover itself, and later reveal the planet’s disc, and even longer for those to the south and closer to the northern limit of the pasture path, where the limb of the moon will be even closer.
The planet’s reappearance will also be gradual. The actual term is called an concealment (Latin for “to hide”). One could even refer to this upcoming event as an eclipse of the planet Mars. Moving eastward against the background stars at its own apparent diameter each hour, the moon will appear to approach Mars from the west (right) and eventually pass it, and shortly then he will uncover it and leave it behind. the moon continues to move eastward.
It is clearly visible only with your eyes
The chance to see the moon hide a bright planet at night doesn’t happen too often; for Mars for a specific location on Earth, it happens (on average) once every 14 years or so. So, if you’re lucky enough to live in the hiding zone and the weather gods are cooperating, this upcoming event is one you really can’t miss.
Since Mars will be in opposition when it has its lunar rendezvous, it will be at its brightest for this current appearance. Normally, even a bright star can be quite difficult to see when it is so close to the blinding brightness of a full moon. However, because Mars is as bright as it is (magnitude -1.9; almost twice as bright as Sirius, the brightest star), this spectacular disappearing act can only be seen with your naked eye or the binoculars, although the best views will undoubtedly be. equipped with a telescope.
Table 1 provides the specific details for 27 selected cities in the United States and Canada. For moments with an asterisk
|Table 1: Local viewing circumstances for the occultation of Mars, December 7-8, 2022||Location||Time zone||Mars disappears|
|Mars reappears||Juneau||ACST||6:19 p.m|
|18:55||Los Angeles||PST||6:30 p.m|
|7:30 p.m||San Francisco||PST||6:34 p.m|
|8:27 p.m||las vegas||MST||7:34 p.m|
|8:35 p.m||Salt Lake City||MST||19:41|
|8:56 p.m||Edmonton||MST||8:04 p.m|
|9:06 p.m||Yellowknife||MST||8:23 p.m|
|9:16 p.m||white horse||MST||8:25 p.m|
|8:57 p.m||Tulsa||CST||8:54 p.m|
|9:41 p.m||Kansas City||CST||8:56 p.m|
|9:12 p.m||Saskatoon||CST||9:03 p.m|
|10:10 p.m||Winnipeg||CST||9:05 p.m|
|10:16 p.m||Chicago||CST||9:10 p.m|
|10:04 a.m||Memphis||CST||9:14 p.m|
|9:29 p.m||Churchill||CST||9:22 p.m|
|10:31 p.m||Louisville||IS||10:21 p.m|
|10:47 p.m||Toronto||IS||10:29 p.m|
|11:17 p.m||Montreal||IS||10:40 p.m|
|11:29 p.m||Quebec City||IS||10:45 p.m|
The above table shows the civil times of the disappearance and reappearance of Mars from behind the Moon. Both the planet’s disappearance and reappearance can last anywhere from 40 seconds to more than two minutes, depending on whether Mars passes centrally behind the Moon (and is covered for an hour or more) or near its inclined lower edge (and is covered for less than half an hour). The times of disappearance and reappearance are for the center of Mars. The table was adapted from the data provided by the International Occultation Timing Association (IOTA)(opens in a new tab)
(Image credit: Starry Night Software)
Don’t miss this next bug! For the rest of North America, this will be a very close approach of the moon to Mars (called angrounded
). The moon, moving around Earth in an easterly direction at about its own diameter every hour, will appear to slowly creep toward the ocher planet and eventually pass right over it. Although the densely populated southeastern and eastern United States will miss out on an occultation, Mars will almost command people to look at it as it appears to slowly slide below the moon.
For places like Huntsville, Knoxville, Philadelphia, and New York, Mars will come within just 1 arc minute of the moon’s limb; it will almost look like they are touching. To the naked eye, Mars will look like an amber jewel on the lower edge of the moon. From Boston, the gap between Mars and the limb of the moon is even smaller: just 0.6 arc minutes, roughly equal to the apparent width of two diameters of Mars!
After closest approach, the moon will slowly move away from Mars through the balance of the nighttime hours of December 7th and 8th.
|Slide your finger to scroll horizontally||Table 2: Local Moon and Mars Momentum Viewing Circumstances, December 7-8, 2022||Location||Time zone|
|Closer approach||Separation||new orleans||IS|
|9:11 p.m||3 arc min.||Huntsville||IS|
|9:23 p.m||1 arc min.||Miami||IS|
|10:16 p.m||11 arc min.||Jacksonville||IS|
|10:23 p.m||7 arc min.||Atlanta||IS|
|10:26 p.m||3 arc min.||colombia||IS|
|10:31 p.m||4 arc min.||Knoxville||IS|
|10:31 p.m||1 arc min.||Charlotte||IS|
|10:36 p.m||3 arc min.||Norfolk||IS|
|10:46 p.m||4 arc min.||Washington||IS|
|10:46 p.m||2 arc min.||Philadelphia||IS|
|10:51 p.m||1 arc min.||New York||IS|
|10:56 p.m||1 arc min.||Boston||IS|
|11:01 p.m||0.6 arc min.||Saint John||AST|
|11:51 p.m||23 min arc.||Hamilton||AST|
11 arc min.
The table above shows the civil times (all hours) of Mars’ closest approach to the edge of the Moon’s lower limb. The separation between Mars and the lower edge of the moon is given in terms of minutes of arc (the apparent width of the moon on December 7 is 30 minutes of arc).
Example: From Jacksonville, closest approach is at 10:23 PM EST, the separation is indicated at 7 minutes of arc or about 1/4 of the moon’s width will separate Mars from the lower edge of the moon
Europe too! And after 2022, your next chance
Europeans will also be able to take part in this occultation, although for them this event will occur during the pre-dawn hours of Thursday (December 8) with the moon descending in the west-northwest sky. For Lisbon, Mars will disappear behind the moon at 4:28 am local time and reappear at 5:02 am. For Dublin it’s 4:55 am and 5:56 am London: 5:00 am and 5:59 am Berlin: 6:01 and 6:56 Paris: 6:04 and 7:02, and Madrid 6:21 and 7:07 The next favorable occultation of Mars for North America will take place on January 14, 2025. around 4am UT. The moon will be waning gibbous about 6 hours after full. Mars comes to opposition just two days later. Joe Rao is an instructor and visiting professor in New YorkHayden Planetarium (opens in a new tab) . Write about astronomy forMagazine of Natural History (opens in a new tab) the Almanac of the farmers (opens in a new tab) and other publications. follow us on twitter @Spacedotcom (opens in a new tab) yenFacebook
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