Reddish Mars appears in the southwestern sky after sunset before setting later in the evening.
Opposition from the Sun occurred during the night of 2016 MAY 21-22 when Mars was out all night. At that time Mars was in the constellation Scorpius at a declination of 21.7° south of the celestial equator. Its north pole was tilted by 10.5° toward Earth. Greatest brilliance for this apparition was expected around MAY 22 at magnitude -2.1. Closest approach to Earth of 0.5032 AU occurred on MAY 30 when Mars subtended an angular diameter of 18.6 arcseconds.
Apparent direct motion in right ascension resumed on 2016 JUN 30. Eastern quadrature was reached on SEP 13 before conjunction behind the Sun on 2017 JUL 26.
Mars will appear near other bright planets and stars on the following dates: Venus 2017 FEB 02, Alcyone (Pleiades) APR 21, Aldebaran MAY 05, Elnath MAY 24, Mercury JUN 28.
The Moon will appear near Mars on 2017 JAN 31, MAR 01, MAR 30, APR 28, MAY 26, JUN 24. There will be no more lunar occulatations of Mars during this apparition.
NOTE: Events in this article are for North American Central Time.
* A meridian transit occurs when a celestial body crosses an observer’s local north-south line in the sky. That is practically simultaneous with culmination, i.e. the highest altitude for the day. The Mars meridian transit times in the above linked graph can be easily transformed for your location. The given times are nearly the same for the central meridians of all time zones, i.e. those evenly divisible by 15° such as 75°, 90°, 105° or 120°. Do not adjust to UT. Simply add to the chart time 4 minutes for each degree west of a central meridian, or subtract 4 minutes for each degree to the east. If on daylight savings time, add an hour.