Hi folks, tune in every week of 2023 for the best in astronomy from Astronomy Editor Dave Eicher, brought to you by Celestron. This Week in Astronomy is a weekly video series that covers all the latest sky events, scientific results, overviews of cosmic mysteries, and more!
This week, everybody’s favorite planet, Mars, passes between two big and bright star clusters, the Hyades and the Pleiades in Taurus the Bull. And for some lucky observers, on Jan. 30, 2023, Mars will pass directly behind the Moon!
On Monday (Jan. 30) in Taurus, the Moon passes 0.1° south of magnitude –0.3 Mars at 11 P.M. EST. The two merely appear close for those in northern states, but for observers south of about 37° north latitude, the Moon will occult the Red Planet, passing in front of it and blocking it from view.
As with all occultations, the timing will depend heavily on your location and may occur early on the 31st. In Miami, Mars disappears at 12:38 A.M. EST on Tuesday morning, reappearing 49 minutes later. In Dallas, the Red Planet slips behind the Moon at 11:18 P.M. CST and pops back into view shortly after local midnight. In California, the event occurs earlier in the evening, around 8:30 P.M. PST.
Check out the International Occultation Timing Association’s webpage (http://www.lunar-occultations.com/iota/planets/0131mars.htm) for detailed disappearance and reappearance times for your particular observing site.
Monday, January 30/31, 2023:
Sunrise: 7:11 A.M.
Sunset: 5:17 P.M.
Moonrise: 12:07 P.M.
Moonset: 2:30 A.M.
Moon Phase: Waxing gibbous (71%)
For more on what to look for in the sky this week, visit: https://www.astronomy.com/observing/the-sky-this-week-comet-ztf-zips-past-earth/
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Image credits: John Chumack; Jared Bowens; Dennis Stayer