January 2023: What Planet is Next to the Moon Tonight?

Star Walk
5 min readJan 2, 2023
Image Credit: Vito Technology, Inc.

In January 2023, the Moon will meet Mars, Saturn, Venus, and Jupiter in the sky. Check this calendar to learn what planet is closest to the Moon right now.

What does a conjunction with the Moon mean?

In astronomy, a conjunction is an apparent event that occurs when two or more space objects are visible very close to each other. In general, conjunctions take place between the Moon and planets (Venus, Mercury, Mars, Jupiter, or Saturn).

Obviously, planets don’t get closer to the Moon in space — it would indeed cause a significant impact on the Solar System. The space objects only seem to be close in the sky for the observers from the Earth.

How to see a Moon-planet conjunction?

Here is what you need to know in advance:

  • Space objects rise and set time for your location. There is a possibility that an object will rise above the horizon during the daytime, so you won’t be able to see it at all.
  • The Moon phase. The fully illuminated lunar disk is, without doubt, an exciting view, but it also hides some relatively faint objects that are close to it.
  • The space objects’ trajectory across the sky. It will help you to visualize the future movement of space objects.

Remember that depending on your timezone, you might miss the exact moment of conjunction, but you still have a chance to catch a planet close to the Moon.

Use our stargazing apps to quickly learn all the necessary information, like an object’s set and rise times or the Moon phase. Track the space objects’ path across the sky over time to predict their position for your location or find out the name of any bright dot above your head.

January conjunctions

January 3: Moon-Mars conjunction

On January 3, at 19:35 GMT (02:35 p.m. EST), the waxing gibbous Moon (magnitude -12.2) will pass within 0.6° of Mars. Our natural satellite will be 91% illuminated, and Mars, a month past opposition, will shine as bright as -1.1. Look for the objects in the constellation Taurus. You’ll spot them easily with the naked eye and may even find the fiery eye of the Bull and the Seven Sisters nearby.

Observers from parts of Africa and Maldives will have a chance to see the Moon passing in front of Mars. The event is called lunar occultation and can only be observed from certain parts of the world; the rest will see the conjunction.

January 23: Moon-Saturn & Moon-Venus conjunctions

On January 23, at 07:22 GMT (02:22 a.m. EST), Saturn (magnitude 0.7) will meet the 2-day-old Moon (magnitude -6.9) in the constellation Capricornus. The apparent distance between the two objects will be 3°49'. It’s too far to spot them at once via telescope, but you’ll see the conjunction with the naked eye or binoculars.

Later this day, at 08:20 GMT (03:20 a.m. EST), the Moon will pass near Venus (magnitude -3.9). The distance between the two bodies will be 3°27', which is too far to fit within the field of view of a telescope. Luckily, they will be bright enough to spot without any optical devices.

January 26: Moon-Jupiter conjunction

On January 26, at 02:00 GMT (on January 25, at 09:00 p.m. EST), the waxing crescent Moon (magnitude -11.2) will shine near bright Jupiter (magnitude -2.2) in the constellation Pisces. The distance between the two objects in the sky will be 1.8°. It’s too far to spot them at once via telescope, but you’ll see the conjunction with the naked eye or a pair of binoculars.

January 31: Moon-Mars conjunction

On January 31, at 04:24 GMT (on January 30, at 11:24 p.m. EST), the waxing gibbous Moon will meet Mars for the second time in a month. The Red Planet (magnitude -0.3) will shine at a distance of 0.1° from our natural satellite (magnitude -12.3). This will be the year’s closest conjunction, so don’t miss it! The objects will be bright enough to see with the naked eye. Find them both in the constellation Taurus.

Observers from parts of the Americas will have a chance to see the Moon passing in front of Mars. The event is called lunar occultation and can only be observed from certain parts of the world; the rest will see the conjunction.

February conjunctions

February 22: Moon-Venus conjunction

On February 22, at 07:57 GMT (02:57 a.m. EST), Venus (magnitude -4.0) will meet the 2-day-old Moon (magnitude -7.8) in the constellation Pisces. The apparent distance between the two objects will be 2°05'. It’s too far to spot them at once via telescope, but you’ll see the conjunction with the naked eye or binoculars.

February 22: Moon-Jupiter conjunction

On February 22, at 21:58 GMT (16:58 p.m. EST), the waxing crescent Moon (magnitude -10.2) will pass close to brilliant Jupiter (magnitude -2.1). Our natural satellite will be located in the constellation Cetus, and Mars will join it in the neighboring constellation Pisces. The objects will be separated by 1.2°, which is too wide to fit within the field of view of a telescope. Observe the conjunction with the naked eye, or take a pair of binoculars. Bright Venus (magnitude -3.9) will also join the celestial show, shining a little lower on the horizon.

Observers from parts of South America and Antarctica will have a chance to see the Moon passing in front of Jupiter in the constellation Pisces. The event is called lunar occultation and can only be observed from certain parts of the world; the rest will see the conjunction.

February 28: Moon-Mars conjunction

On February 28, at 04:32 GMT (on February 27, at 11:32 p.m. EST), the waxing gibbous Moon (magnitude -11.4) will pass within 1.2° of Mars. The lunar disk will be 59% illuminated, and the Red Planet will shine at a magnitude of 0.4. You’ll see both objects with the naked eye or a pair of binoculars, but don’t bother taking a telescope — the conjunction won’t fit within its field of view. Look for the objects in the constellation Taurus.

Observers from parts of Northern Europe and Greenland will have a chance to see the Moon passing in front of Mars. The event is called lunar occultation and can only be observed from certain parts of the world; the rest will see the conjunction.

This was all you needed to know about the planetary conjunctions with the Moon, including the related upcoming events. If you enjoyed the article, share it on social media.

Learn about past conjunctions with the Moon and planets that took place in 2022 in our separate article.

Wishing you clear skies and happy observations!

Text Credit: Vito Technology, Inc.

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