Solar System Phenomena — Mars in 2022

The path of Mars against the background stars in 2022

The upper chart shows the path of Mars across the background stars over the course of the year. Stars to magnitude +4.5 are shown with some fainter objects included to complete constellation patterns. The white circles represent the planet on the first day of the month and are scaled according to apparent magnitude. The faint paths before the first circle and after the last circle represent the planet's positions in December of last year and January of next. In general, the planet moves from right to left except when it's in retrograde and proceding in the opposite direction.

The lower chart shows how the appearance of Mars changes over the year. Below each image is listed the date, the apparent magnitude, the apparent diameter of the disk (in arc-seconds), the geocentric distance (in au) and the percentage of the disk which is illuminated. Note that Mars appears distinctly gibbous near the times of quadrature.

The red planet is found in Ophiuchus at the start of 2022. It is a morning sky object, slowly distancing itself from the Sun after last October's conjunction. It is a relatively dim magnitude +1.5 at the beginning of January but slowly brightens to −1.9 through the year as it approaches opposition in December. Mars makes its way across the zodiac (with a brief incursion into Cetus), arriving in Taurus in August where it spends the rest of the year. Mars passes close by Saturn in April, and Neptune and Jupiter in May. It is also occulted by the Moon three times, the last occultation taking place on the day of the red planet's opposition in December.

19 JanuaryOphiuchusSagittarius
26 January0.5° north of NGC 6530, an open star cluster within M8, the Lagoon Nebula
27 Januarymaximum declination south
29 January2.4° north of the Moon
05 February0.2° north of the globular cluster M22
16 Februaryplanetary conjunction: 6.2° south of Venus
24 Februaryequinox: autumn in the northern hemisphere and spring in the southern hemisphere
05 MarchSagittariusCapricornus
06 Marchplanetary conjunction: 4.5° south of Venus
30 March0.2° north of fourth-magnitude variable star ι Capricorni
05 Aprilplanetary conjunction: 0.3° south of Saturn
11 AprilCapricornusAquarius
18 Mayplanetary conjunction: 0.5° south of Neptune
19 MayAquariusPisces
24 May2.8° north of the Moon
29 Mayplanetary conjunction: 0.6° north of Jupiter
03 JunePiscesCetus
09 JuneCetusPisces
21 Juneperihelion
22 Junelunar occulation: 0.9° north of the Moon
02 July0.2° south of fourth-magnitude star ο Piscium (Torcular)
08 JulyPiscesAries
21 Julysolstice: winter in the northern hemisphere and summer in the southern hemisphere
lunar occultation: 1.1° south of the Moon
02 Augustplanetary conjunction: 1.3° south of Uranus
09 AugustAriesTaurus
19 August2.7° south of the Moon
27 Augustwest quadrature
20 Octoberascending node
30 Octoberstationary in right ascension: direct → retrograde
11 November2.5° south of the Moon
01 Decemberminimum distance: 0.545 au from Earth
06 Decembermaximum declination north
08 Decemberlunar occultation: 0.5° south of the Moon
opposition: magnitude −1.9, apparent diameter 17.3 arc-seconds
26 Decemberequinox: spring in the northern hemisphere and autumn in the southern hemisphere


The dates, times and circumstances of all planetary and lunar phenomena were calculated from the JPL DE406 solar system ephemeris using the same rigorous methods that are employed in the compilation of publications such as The Astronomical Almanac. Seasonal information was obtained from A post-Pathfinder evaluation of areocentric solar coordinates with improved timing recipes for Mars seasonal/diurnal climate studies, Michael Allison and Megan McEwen, Planetary and Space Science, 48, 215–235 (February 2000).