A beautiful Moon-Mars conjunction tonight

Skywatchers, don’t miss this event.

Tonight, Oct. 2nd, the Harvest Moon and Mars are in conjunction, less than 1 degree apart for sky observers.

The Moon is nearly full, and bright red Mars is only days away from its closest approach to Earth, making the conjunction extra bright and beautiful.

The celestial pair rise in the east just after sunset and stay up all night long. Here is what it would look like from most of the northern hemisphere during the nights of October 2-3 about midnight.

Image: stellarium

And here is a skymap:

Of course, if you live in the southern hemisphere, it will look like this:

The conjunction from Buenos Aires around midnight Oct. 2-3. Image: stellarium

h/t to Spaceweather.com

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October 2, 2020 2:39 pm

Unfortunately most of us in California will be unable to see this because our elected officials are grossly incompetent. But on the bright side, all our food now has a nice smoky flavor and 20 times the USDA daily requirement of ash.

Curious George
October 2, 2020 2:47 pm

In San Francisco, the big red object will be the Moon. The small one, Mars.
Unless wind direction changes – plenty of smoke from Glass Fire.

Carlo, Monte
Reply to  Curious George
October 3, 2020 7:05 am

In Denver yesterday the smoke was so thick it was hard to see the foothills from the western suburbs. The Harvest Moon + 1 day in the evening was almost as red as Mars.

Joel O'Bryan
October 2, 2020 2:51 pm

I’ve been on my patio the last few nights watching them getting closer each night. I was in fact wondering last night how close they would be tonight. Perfectly clear comfortable nights now in Tucson, so I’ll be there tonight with chilled beverage in hand.

Doc Chuck
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
October 2, 2020 10:07 pm

Joel, for future reference the moon moves eastward about its own diameter each hour, so about 12 degrees each 24 hour interval. And for judging that pace your index finger (next to your thumb) is about 10 degrees across its own length when held at arms length across your line of sight.

Also, Curious George, don’t neglect trying to spot this conjunction in despair of overhead smoke, as the full moon is likely to show in darkness and a red object like mars is also a better bet to penetrate smoke than other colors.

Ron Long
October 2, 2020 2:53 pm

Totally overcast here in Mendoza, Argentina! However, with some special fruit juice and the photo in the report I’m pretty sure I can see it anyway. Thanks!

October 2, 2020 3:13 pm

But now they only block the sun
They rain and snow on everyone
So many things I would have done
But clouds got in my way

Reply to  clipe
October 2, 2020 3:43 pm

You should put that to music and make a song out of it.

Reply to  Mike McMillan
October 2, 2020 6:03 pm

I would but I’m tired.


Bill Parsons
Reply to  clipe
October 2, 2020 10:06 pm

This is the dawning of the age of … Scorpio?

Refuse to watch this lascivious display of Selene and Aries… outshinging all the other heavenly bodies like the pair of celestial show-offs that they are!

Ancient Wrench
October 2, 2020 3:16 pm

Zack is asking … What are the odds Mars will crash into the Moon?

Russell Cook
Reply to  Ancient Wrench
October 2, 2020 7:16 pm

Don’t know about odds, but if you ask the Mann or other such authorities, there’s a 97% chance of it.

Reply to  Ancient Wrench
October 3, 2020 8:10 am

100% if Trump is re-elected.

October 2, 2020 3:18 pm

I saw them getting closer last night. A little more and we might even have an eclipse! I’ll get my camera ready.

Kenneth Cagle
Reply to  Mike McMillan
October 3, 2020 9:30 am


It would be an occultation.

Reply to  Kenneth Cagle
October 3, 2020 4:30 pm

Thank you, but it’s really painful to have to explain a joke.

Gunga Din
October 2, 2020 3:24 pm

Jupiter and Saturn may also be visible if you look further East.

Reply to  Gunga Din
October 2, 2020 4:26 pm

Jupiter and Saturn are setting in the south west, (in the NH) both being about 7 degrees apart, with Jupiter setting first a bit before midnight depending how clear your western horizon is. (and whether DST) With Mars being within 1 degree away from the Moon, that will be almost 2 Moon diameters away, which is a really close conjunction. The Moon’s diameter is about .52 degree wide as seen from Earth.

The ancients must have gotten in a tizzy when things got this close as they had no idea about perspective and distance and the plebs must have thought the two would collide. But even with a complete occultation, the high priests must have known that Mars would have been further away and behind the Moon when it reappeared. The court astrologers would have definitely been predicting omens in advance of this, as they had centuries of record keeping to fairly close accuracies. And Moon and Mars no less, where we are heading soon. Good thing everything on the good Earth is normal and nothing out of the ordinary going on. Jupiter and Saturn are also in close conjunction this Dec 22 on the winter equinox. Just like clockwork. Really is a beautiful solar system.

Gunga Din
Reply to  Earthling2
October 2, 2020 5:31 pm

“Good thing everything on the good Earth is normal and nothing out of the ordinary going on.”
I said East.
You’re right.
Look to the West.
(It’s us people that get things mixed up!)

Gunga Din
Reply to  Earthling2
October 2, 2020 5:59 pm

Maybe it’s one of those comment delay things, but I’d replied that our friendly, neighborhood Earthling2 is right.
Look to the West, not East.

Reply to  Earthling2
October 2, 2020 7:33 pm

Clockwork astronomy and the ancients… I suppose if someone was to be burned at the stake on 21 June 528, but knew there was to be a total eclipse of the Sun that day, he might be able to talk his way out of his execution.

But no, no one would think of that.

Reply to  mcswell
October 2, 2020 9:06 pm

Actually, the ancient Greeks had the Antikythera gearbox more than 2000 years ago which was a very sophisticated instrument filled with dials and about 30 gears made of bronze that one could wind forwards and backwards and predict solar and lunar eclipses with astonishing accuracy. For instance, the device reveals that there was a zodiac chart on the front of the gearbox showing the planets moving through the different constellations.

“In 2014, scientists reported in the journal PLOS ONE that they had deciphered the dial and algorithm used to predict eclipses. It turned out that a four-turn spiral revealed eclipses using specific glyphs to denote the time and type of eclipse. Lunar eclipses, for instance, were denoted by the glyph for Σ, which was short for the moon goddess ΕΛΗΝΗ (Selene), while solar eclipses were denoted by H, which is short for the sun god ΗΛΙΟΣ (Helios).”

“What’s more, the Greek computer was surprisingly sophisticated. The Antikythera mechanism could not only predict the timing of eclipses but also reveal characteristics of those eclipses, such as the amount of obscuration, the angular diameter of the moon (which is the angle covered by the diameter of the full moon) and the position of the moon at the time of the eclipse, the study found.”


October 2, 2020 4:04 pm

Thanks for the heads up. No where near as close as in mock up image. Several moon diameters apart. Maybe I got there too late.

Gunga Din
Reply to  Greg
October 2, 2020 6:24 pm

He said at Midnight, not right now. (He didn’t say what time zone.)
Mars will get closer as the night goes on.
I found a site for Columbus Ohio night sky tonight and Midnight pretty much matches.
(Maybe there’s a site for town’s “night sky tonight”.)

Reply to  Gunga Din
October 3, 2020 3:48 am

Thanks Gunga.

during the nights of October 2-3 about midnight.

nights, plural, is not a time. Did it mean “the” night of 2-3 ?

Moon was ahead of Mars, so I think that means I was too early, not too late. Tonight I guess I’ve missed the show.

October 2, 2020 4:42 pm

Thanks for heads up, just seen them…very clear sky over N Wales … brilliant view.

But that is not Mars…
it is the red eye of the devil (he was out on the pi$$ last night); & is a portent of doom – storm & pestilence will consume us, fire & brimstone will rain upon our heads, the seas will rise, we will all drown in our burning beds, while the glaciers melt, plagues like that of Egypt ( but 97% worse than we thought) will descend on us & worse – we will all get hemorrhoids; the re-Greta-ble child has seen the future whilst looking in the climate muddles for CO2.

All de-Nyeers can repent by sending money now to good god Gore & the angel O’bummer.

Rud Istvan
October 2, 2020 4:46 pm

Thanks for this. Unfortunately (as usual for this time of year, here in Ft. lauderdale we have complete overcast today with frequent heavy rains. Related to the ‘cold front’ that reached down to Orlando and dropped temps there to 70F, while we here hit 86F with lots of rain. But we can imagine it.

Best wishes to my newish close South Florida reef dive friend CtM after his surgery yesterday. We missed our lunch last month because of the Wuhan virus, and spoke this Sunday PM about that and his finally scheduled surgery. His ‘Semi elective’ (not really) surgery was needed months ago post diagnosis, and was finally scheduled for the first week after Gov. DeSantos fully reopened Florida last Friday. I figure to give him a couple more recuperative days before calling to say hi. Hi!

Michael in Dublin
October 2, 2020 6:03 pm


Have just seen this in Dublin – where we have a clear sky for a change – at an approximately 11h00 position.

October 2, 2020 6:06 pm

I knew this was coming up, and hoped the sky would be as clear tonight as it was last night. But, no, it was not to be.

The clouds rolled in like pastry dough, covered the sky entirely and the only lights in the sky are at the off-ramps on the highway.

I’m sad.

Someone take pictures for me???

October 2, 2020 6:27 pm

Sony cybershot

Jupiter Mars Uranus

comment image

October 2, 2020 6:34 pm

It will be a decade before Mars will appear as large and bright again as it will tonight! So celebrate that you are privileged to see this neat conjunction!!!

Jimmy Haigh
October 2, 2020 6:42 pm

The wife and I go for a walk every day here in Pattaya around 04:30 for an hour. I’ve been watching Venus closing in on Regulus for the last few weeks for a very close conjunction. I was also wanting to lok at Mars and the Moon. Unfortunately it rained all night here so missed them both!

October 2, 2020 10:18 pm

The reason Mars looks so full is the same reason the Moon is full. They’re both fully illuminated by the Sun, with Earth in between.

Kevin A
October 3, 2020 4:06 am

Southern Idaho, smoked out, no sun or moon yesterday.

October 3, 2020 1:54 pm

Beautiful night to view and photograph the conjunction last night here in southeast Arizona:

comment image?dl=0

Canon D80, 300mm-F/4 lens 1/1000 sec

Alastair Brickell
Reply to  Chuck
October 3, 2020 2:08 pm

October 3, 2020 at 1:54 pm

That’s a great shot…I think you can even see the south pole ice cap at 2 o’clock! Amazing that it was taken at 1/100 sec. too.

Michael S. Kelly
October 3, 2020 8:01 pm

“Tonight, Oct. 2nd, the Harvest Moon and Mars are in conjunction, less than 1 degree apart for sky observers.”

How far apart were they for non-sky observers?

(We watched the Antares launch from Reston, VA that evening.)

Jim Whelan
October 4, 2020 9:03 am

The moon is approx 1/2 degree in diameter so a 1 degree approach would be two moon diameters not anywhere near as close as shown in the picture. The credit for the picture is “Stellarium” a sky view app which exaggerates the size of the moon unless set to do otherwise.

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