Conjunction of Moon and Mars

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Start looking for the young moon in the evening sky around June 4, 2019. We should all be able to see the conjunction of moon and mars near the Horizon, shortly after sunset. Elusive Mercury- innermost planet in our solar system, is also in that part of the sky. Mars – which is very faint – shines above Mercury.

conjunction occurs when two astronomical objects or Spacecraft have either the same right ascension or the same ecliptic longitude, the conjunction is usually taken as reference to the observer on earth. The astronomical symbol for conjunction

When two objects always appear close to the ecliptic

  • two planets
  • the Moon and a planet, 
  • sun and a planet

This fact implies an apparent close approach between the objects as seen on the sky. A related word, Applause is the minimum apparent separation on the sky of two astronomical objects. 

Conjunctions involve either two objects in the solar system or one object in the Solar System and a more distant object, such as a star. A conjunction is an apparent phenomenon caused by the observer’s perspective: the two objects are not actually close to one another in space. Conjunctions between two bright objects close to the ecliptic, such as two bright planets, can be seen with the naked eye.

Mercury can be found near the moon on June 4; then on June 5 and 6, the moon’s lighted face points to Mars. Just note that Marsi is far behind Earth now in the race of the planets around the sun. Earth will soon “turn the corner” ahead of Mars in orbit, sending the planet into the sunset glare. Mars is so faint now that it might not be visible until nightfall after the moon and Mercury have already set. In other words, have your binoculars handy.

The Moon and Mars will share the same right ascension, with the Moon passing 0°05′ to the north of Mars. The Moon will be 2 days old.

From New Delhi, the pair will be tough to observe as they will appear no higher than 11° above the horizon. They will become noticeable at around 19:38 (IST) as the dusk sky fades, 11° above your western horizon. They will then descend towards the horizon, setting 1 hour and 18 minutes after the Sun at 20:38. The Moon will be at mag -8.9, and Mars at mag 1.8, both in the constellation Cancer Best way to view it

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To maximize your chances of observing the thin lunar crescent on July 4, find an unobstructed horizon in the western direction. If you can stand on the top of a hill or balcony, so that you can peek a little farther over the horizon, all the better. And don’t forget binoculars, as the sky is often hazy or murky along the horizon. Even in a clear sky, the slender crescent is likely to appear pale and bleached out at evening dusk.

 

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