Archive for March 17, 2020

03/17/2020 – Ephemeris – A planetary traffic jam tomorrow morning

March 17, 2020 2 comments

Ephemeris for St. Patrick’s Day, Tuesday, March 17th. Today the Sun will be up for 12 hours and 1 minute, setting at 7:52, and it will rise tomorrow at 7:48. The Moon, 1 day past last quarter, will rise at 5:12 tomorrow morning.

What I’m going to talk about today is the confluence of the Moon and planets, none of which is green for St. Patrick’s day. The event actually takes place tomorrow morning, which looks like a real planet traffic jam. Of course it just looks like it. The Moon is about 240 thousand miles (390 thousand km) away, Mars is 146 million miles (235 million km), and Jupiter is three and a half times farther away than Mars, and Saturn is twice as far away as Jupiter. These are seen in the southeast, from right to left are Mars, and Jupiter, close together and Saturn a bit farther away. The crescent Moon will pass south of Mars at 4:19 a.m., and Jupiter at 6:18 a.m. The Moon will pass south of Saturn at 8 p.m. tomorrow night while they are below the horizon.  By the time they rise Thursday morning the Moon will be a ways left and below Saturn.

The event times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.


Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and Moon traffic Jam

Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and Moon traffic Jam as it will appear in the southeast at 7 a.m. March 18, 2020. Created using Stellarium.