Newsletter Archive

Happy New Year!

January 01, 2023


Happy New Year, Everyone!

I just wanted to give a quick reminder to those of you in the Eastern Hemisphere of the upcoming occultation of Mars. As I mentioned previously, whenever the moon passes very close to (or in front of) a planet in the sky, this is a good opportunity for you to see with your own eyes motion in outer space. Using a nearby star or planet as a reference, you can see the moon move past this “landmark” over the course of an hour or two. This month's passage of the moon past Mars will be visible to much of Europe, Africa, and Central Asia. I'm pretty sure that nobody on this list lives in sub-Saharan Africa, but if you do you'll be able to see the moon actually “eclipse” Mars and pass in front of it. For those of you in Eastern Europe, Northern Africa, the Middle East, and India, you'll be able to see the moon pass very close to Mars, although they will never touch in the sky. Sub-Saharan Africa will see a true “occultation”, and the rest of the Eastern Hemisphere will see the Moon skim alongside Mars. The exact time of “conjunction”, meaning the closest approach, will be about 7:30 PM Universal Time on January 3rd, which means in the late evening if you live in the Middle East, and a bit after midnight on January 4th if you live in India. Start watching an hour or two before the conjunction to see the moon as it approaches Mars. For a map and more detailed timing, you can try searching the websites of planetariums and observatories near you, or try http://www.lunar-occultations.com/iota/planets/0103mars.htm

I've also had to migrate my website (and also my newsletter software) to a new platform, so I'm trying out a new newsletter system, and this is the first email using the new system. If you discover any flaws or have any comments on the new system (or if you have any comments of any kind) please feel free to let me know by replying to this email.

As I mentioned last time, we are in the middle of a series of monthly occultations of Mars, and there will be one more on January 31 -- this one visible from the New World. That will be the last occultation of Mars, but the moon will also eclipse Venus and Jupiter once or twice in the coming months. Stay tuned!

John