I’m looking for the “exact” distance from the Earth to Mars, at the moment of the lunar eclipse maximum earlier this week (November 8, 2022). As many significant digits as you can muster.

Between the center of the Earth and the center of Mars would be fine, or similar.

Let’s say, at UTC, Nov 8 at 10:59:11.

Extra “points” if you provide information on how to find this distance with the date and time as a parameter.


—— edit/update (responding to a comment, asking for the reason for this question)

After taking handheld iphone photos of the November 8, 2022 lunar eclipse from my porch, I was moved to caption one of the images that began to show a touch of the northern lights as the moon dimmed. (resolutions are reduced to allow upload)

mars, pleiades, moon, and a touch of northern lights

distances to a few favorites

distance table

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    $\begingroup$ Presumably that's 10:59:11 PM, or 22:59:11 using a 24 hour clock. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 10, 2022 at 5:50
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    $\begingroup$ November 8, 2022 10:59:11 UTC (AM). Sorry I wasn’t clear. In Alaska (AST), where I live, the time of the eclipse maximum was 1:59:11 AM on November 8. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 10, 2022 at 5:59
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    $\begingroup$ (can always help answerers enthusiasm and question interest to give a bit of insight on why you're looking for it? :-) ) $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 10, 2022 at 19:03

2 Answers 2


JPL Horizons makes this pretty easy. It gives 0.58950405608881 AU, or 88188551.559899346096867 km, or 54797825.42445825 miles.

Though I believe the ephemeris used by Horizons is accurate to only about 1km, but it is the most accurate ephemeris publicly available.

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    $\begingroup$ With a more precise search, I get 0.58769088079688 au, or 8.791730439702×10^7 km. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 10, 2022 at 5:54
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    $\begingroup$ Oops. I assumed 10:59:10 PM UTC. Using 10:59:10 AM UTC, I get 0.58950409839940 au from Horizons. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 10, 2022 at 6:03
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    $\begingroup$ Giving the answer precise to the picometer is maybe a little bit too "exact". $\endgroup$
    – Helena
    Commented Nov 10, 2022 at 20:10

Here’s a suggestion from @notovny, who commented on a duplicate post of this question on the space exploration stack:

“Wolfram Alpha will basically give you that information with a natural language query.”

Indeed, this seems to work, here’s a screen shot from my iphone:

Wolfram Alpha natural language query

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    $\begingroup$ Unfortunately, Wolfram Alpha has accuracy problems. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 10, 2022 at 5:46
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    $\begingroup$ Add the time to the query and see if that makes it match Horizons better. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 10, 2022 at 16:36
  • $\begingroup$ Using “Mars distance from Earth on November 8, 2022 at 10:59 UTC”, Wolfram Alpha returns 0.5895 au. Same result as Horizons, to significant digits. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 12, 2022 at 16:40

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