Watch Red planet Mars next to the crescent moon on May 4

The Red planet Mars will be visible to the lower left of the beautiful 17% illuminated, waning crescent moon on the morning of May 4, 2024.

Not only Mars but also Saturn will be visible on the other side of the moon (to the upper right) on the morning of May 4, 2024. Notice their difference in color: Mars is red and Saturn is golden. 

Mars’s appearance next to the moon on our sky’s dome on May 4, 2024, does not mean that they’ll get too close (in terms of their distances).

Currently, Mars is 294 million kilometers away from the earth, according to TheSkyLive, whereas the average distance of the moon from the earth is only 384,400 kilometers.

The close appearance of two celestial objects on our sky’s dome is called a conjunction. Here is the conjunction of the moon and Mars.

When and where to watch the moon and Mars

Mars next to the waning crescent moon on the morning of May 4, 2024
Mars next to the waning crescent moon on the morning of May 4, 2024. (Image credit: Stellarium)

On May 4, 2024, the moon and Mars will rise together about 1 hour and 15 minutes before sunrise. So look low in the eastern sky about an hour before sunrise to see the moon and Mars. Mars will be visible to the lower left of the waning crescent moon.

Not only that, Mars will be visible low in the eastern sky preceding sunrise throughout the month of May 2024.

Related article: What planets are visible in the night sky in May 2024? 

How to watch the moon and Mars

Mars is easily noticeable without an instrument like a pair of binoculars or a telescope. It will appear like a bright star near the moon to the naked eye.

However, you need a telescope to see Mars’s disk. 

How bright will be the moon compared to Mars

On the morning of May 4, 2024, the moon will shine with a magnitude of -10.9 and Mars with a magnitude of +1.1.

Please remember that the higher the number of magnitudes, the fainter the star, and we can see up to +6 magnitude stars or planets when the sky is dark and crystal clear. 

Also magnitude 1 star is approximately 2.5 times brighter than a magnitude 2 star, and magnitude 1 star is approximately 2.5*2.5 = (2.5)^2 = 6.25 times brighter than a magnitude 3 star, and so on.

Now, on the morning of May 4, 2024, the difference in magnitude between the moon and Mars will be 12.0 (by taking the number only).

So on the morning of May 4, 2024, the moon will be approximately (2.5)^12 = 59,605 times brighter than Mars. However it is difficult to understand with the naked eye.

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About the Author

Ashim

Ashim Chandra Sarkar founded Space & Telescope in 2022. He holds a M.Sc. in physics and has five years of research experience in optical astronomy. His passion for astronomy inspired him to open this website. He is responsible for the editorial vision of spaceandtelescope.com.

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