Home > Ephemeris Program, Mars > 04/08/2014 – Ephemeris – Mars is at opposition today!

04/08/2014 – Ephemeris – Mars is at opposition today!

April 8, 2014

Ephemeris for Tuesday, April 8th.  The sun will rise at 7:10.  It’ll be up for 13 hours and 7 minutes, setting at 8:18.   The Moon, 1 day past first quarter, will set at 4:10 tomorrow morning.

Mars is at opposition from the Sun today.  That doesn’t mean that Mars and the Sun are opposed to each other. Well, I guess they are, sort of.  It really means that the Sun and Mars are opposite one another in the sky with Mars rising at sunset, staying up all night and setting at sunrise.  That puts the earth smack dab between the Sun and Mars.  For most planets this is the time of closest approach.  Mars, however, has a markedly elliptical orbit, and in its orbit, it is moving closer to the sun, so it will actually come a bit closer to the Earth this go around on April 14th, next Monday when it will be 372,000 miles closer.  That’s not much out of 57 million miles.  Still Mars is a tiny planet in telescopes.

Times are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan.  They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Mars' closest approaches with the earth 2003 to 2018.  Created with my LookingUp program.

Mars’ closest approaches with the earth 2003 to 2018. Created with my LookingUp program.

Mars tonight

Mars through a telescope tonight (April 8, 2014). Apparent diameter 15.1″. Created using Stellarium.

Mars in 2003

Mars at its closest approach in 50,000 or so years on August 27, 2003. Apparent diameter 25.1″. Created using Stellarium.

Apparent diameters are in seconds or arc.  One second of arc is 1/3600th of a degree. or about 1/1800th of the width of the Moon or Sun.

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