Moon near Mars September 16 and 17 mornings

Moon near Mars: Moon on September 16 and 17 by Pleiades, Mars and Aldebaran. With Orion lower in the sky.
Moon near Mars. The nearly last quarter moon lies near bright red Mars on the mornings of September 16 and 17, 2022. Look for them high in the sky at dawn. Chart via John Jardine Goss/ EarthSky.

Moon near Mars September 16 and 17 mornings

Start watching for Mars! The moon will be sweeping past it – during the hours between about midnight to dawn, as seen from the whole globe – on the mornings of September 16 and 17, 2022. This planet has about a two-year cycle of visibility in our sky. And, for much of that cycle, it’s faint and inconspicuous in our sky. But – for a period of perhaps six months, every couple of years – Mars brightens and appears very red. It happens around the time Earth is passing between Mars and the sun. And it’s what’s happening now.

Our passage between the sun and Mars on December 8, 2022, will bring Mars to opposition in our sky. Then it’ll be opposite the sun, rising in the east as the sun sets in the west. So, we’re coming up behind Mars now, in our smaller, faster orbit. And Mars is appearing bigger and brighter to us. Mars is now a hair brighter than Sirius, the brightest star.

Watch for Mars to rise in the east in the middle of the night, and to shine high overhead at dawn, in September 2022.

And between now and December, Mars will continue to brighten (and grow in size as seen through a telescope) while racing toward opposition on December 8.

Moon, stars, constellations near Mars

The reddish star near Mars is Aldebaran, the eye of Taurus the Bull. Also, delicate Pleiades glows nearby with Orion the Hunter, lower in the sky.

Last quarter moon is 21:52 UTC on September 17.

Mars at 3 a.m., September 14, from Romania

Pale yellow Mars, seen through a telescope.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Aurelian Neacsu in Visina, Dambovita, Romania, captured this telescopic image of Mars on September 14, 2022. Thank you, Aurelian! Now is the time to start observing Mars. We’ll pass between the Red Planet and the sun in December 2022. Visit EarthSky’s night sky guide.

Bottom line: Watch for the moon near Mars from midnight to dawn on the mornings of September 16 and 17, 2022.

Visit EarthSky’s night sky guide

September 15, 2022

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