The moon will 'eclipse' Mars before dawn Tuesday! Here's how to see it.

As the waning crescent moon rises in the small hours of the morning of Tuesday, Feb. 18, skywatchers will be preparing for an unusual event.

The moon will 'eclipse' Mars before dawn Tuesday! Here's how to see it. : Read more

This could be a fun celestial event to observe tomorrow morning - weather permitting. Only if the lunar occultation with Mars took place this morning! Lovely, cold, clear skies at my location 😊 Forecast for my area tomorrow morning - clouds and likely some light rain, bad. This morning near 0630 EST I was out viewing Mars in Sagittarius, the waning crescent Moon in Ophiuchus and could see a 6th magnitude star (HIP83684) close to the lunar limb, <=6 arcminutes. Using my 90-mm telescope, Mars at 71x was distinct planetary disk shape, orange-red and gibbous phase. The 90-mm telescope will provide excellent views of the Moon-Mars occultation tomorrow. Lower in SE, I could see Jupiter behind some trees. It is fun to enjoy views of the Moon with stars or planets close by in angular separation or occultations by the Moon. Knowing the distance to the Moon and the star HIP83684 (mv +6.25) is enjoyable while viewing, 1-degree across field of view.

For folks interested in observing with telescopes, I use Stellarium and Starry Night Pro Plus 8 software for creating sky charts to use and plan observations ahead. Faint stars occulted by the Moon are also shown or stars and planets close in angular separation like this morning close conjunction of the waning crescent Moon and HIP83684 visible near the limb.
Feb 18, 2020
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The first visible emergence of the Martian disk came at exactly 04:46:45 from location 47.740664, -122.320178. Equipment was naked eye with a horizon view. Timing was made by starting a stopwatch, letting it run, and comparing to once I got home.
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From my location in Maryland. I did observe this morning 0645-0745 EST. Sunrise 0654 EST. Low level clouds moving quickly by from the south did block my views at times. Blue sky above with scattered cirrus and altocumulus layers. I used the TeleVue 32-mm plossl with my 90-mm refractor telescope and 10x50 binoculars. Clouds blocked my view of the Moon from 0723 EST until 0738 EST. When I viewed again at 0738 EST, Mars no longer visible near the lunar limb. From 0700 until 0723 EST, I did enjoy some good views of bright, orange Mars near the waning crescent Moon limb. At 0723 EST, the Moon and Mars very close in angular separation before the occultation. North up, mirror reverse view so the limb of the Moon and Mars was on right side of the FOV. 31x and nearly 1.6-degree true FOV. At 0716 EST, I could just barely see Mars near the lunar limb using my 10x50 binoculars. However, the 90-mm refractor view at 31x was excellent - clouds permitting. This was great fun this morning. At least I was able to see some of the occultation event but not the occultation itself. The Moon quickly closed the gap between the lunar limb and Mars while I viewed.

NWS reports winds aloft at 3000 feet for my location were 180/32 knots so lower level clouds came moving by quickly, blocking the view at times. High above, large areas of blue sky with cirrus and altocumulus. Winds at 30,000 feet this morning, 270/85 knots. I used lower power and wider field views with the telescope because of the clouds moving by. However, even at 31x, Mars and the Moon very easy to see, even at times through passing clouds, a good photo opportunity for some who do that.

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