Moon near Mars January 30 and 31

The moon near Mars one Jan. 30 and 31.
Look for the waxing gibbous moon near Mars on the nights of January 30 and 31, 2023. They set a few hours before sunrise. Also near Mars is the fiery red star Aldebaran, the Eye of Taurus the Bull. Then the impressive constellation Orion the Hunter finishes out the cosmic scene. Plus, parts of the globe can enjoy a lunar occultation of Mars at 4 UTC on January 31, 2023. Chart via John Jardine Goss/ EarthSky.

Our charts are mostly set for the northern half of Earth. In order to see a precise view from your location, try Stellarium Online.

See the moon near Mars

The moon will be passing by Mars on the nights of January 30 and 31, 2023. Mars has a roughly two-year cycle of visibility in our sky. And, for much of that cycle, it’s faint and inconspicuous. But – for a period of about six months, every couple of years – Mars brightens and appears quite red. It happens around the time Earth is passing between Mars and the sun. And that’s what happened in December 2022.

We passed between the sun and Mars on December 8, 2022, when Mars reached opposition. So, we’re racing away from Mars now, in our smaller, faster orbit. As a matter of fact, right now Mars appears as big and bright as it will for the rest of the year. That’s because Mars has faded from its recent opposition at magnitude -1.9 to its current magnitude 0. While that is still brighter than most stars, Mars will continue to fade the rest of 2023.

The stars near the moon and Mars

The reddish star near Mars is Aldebaran, the Eye of Taurus the Bull. Aldebaran can guide you to a V-shaped star cluster known as the Hyades. Also, the delicate star cluster of the Pleiades shimmers nearby with Orion the Hunter lower in the sky.

Now on sale! The 2023 EarthSky lunar calendar. A unique and beautiful poster-sized calendar showing phases of the moon every night of the year. Treat yourself!

Plus, a lunar occultation of Mars

Parts of the globe will be treated to a lunar occultation of Mars at 4 UTC on January 31, 2023 (10 p.m. CST on January 30). It is visible in southern North America among other places. Check In-The-Sky to see if the occultation is visible where you live.

See pictures here of the lunar occultation of Mars on December 7, 2022

Bottom line: Watch for the moon near Mars from dusk until after 3 a.m. local time on the nights of January 30 and 31, 2023.

January 30, 2023

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