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Backyard Observatory

Mars and the Moon Will Align in the Sky This Weekend. Here's When & How to See It.

From your viewpoint, they're almost going to touch.

drcooke/Moment/Getty Images

Labor Day weekend will be a great time for stargazers to enjoy sightings of the planets. As the Perseverance rover speeds toward the red planet, you're going to have a great view of Mars on the night of Saturday, September 5.

Mars will rise around 10pm ET, depending on your location, in the eastern sky. But shortly after midnight, it will have moved further south and will have a close encounter with the moon in the early hours of Sunday, September 6, on the East Coast. The fourth planet from the sun will have a conjunction with the moon that night, meaning you're going to see these two get nice and cozy in the sky.

Mars and the moon will almost be on top of each other. In some parts of the world, Mars will even be seen to disappear behind the moon and reappear on the other side. This is a lunar occultation, but you'll need to be in southern Europe, South America, or western Africa to see the occultation. It will not be visible from the United States.

How to see Mars and the moon in conjunction

The moment when the two celestial objects will be closest together arrives at 12:44am when viewed from New York City, per In the Sky. For the most part, you can just adjust for the time zone to get a good view of the close encounter, which will happen early in the evening for viewers on the West Coast. 

If you're looking for the duo in the early morning hours of September 6, keep an eye out for bright Venus. On the morning of September 7, Venus will reach its highest point in the sky for its morning appearances in 2020. So, you should get a great view of Earth's sister planet. Plus, you're spending some time outside over Labor Day weekend, and things are going pretty well. 

Ready to go stargazing?

Here are all the best stargazing events that you can get out and see this month or you could stay in a stream the northern lights from home. If you're just getting started, check out our guide to astronomy for beginners

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Dustin Nelson is a Senior Staff Writer at Thrillist. Follow him @dlukenelson.
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