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Close approach of Venus and Saturn

Dominic Ford, Editor
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The sky at

Venus and Saturn will make a close approach, passing within 0°31' of each other.

From Seattle, the pair will be difficult to observe as they will appear no higher than 19° above the horizon. They will be visible in the dawn sky, rising at 04:51 (PDT) – 2 hours and 43 minutes before the Sun – and reaching an altitude of 19° above the south-eastern horizon before fading from view as dawn breaks around 07:11.

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Venus will be at mag -4.0; and Saturn will be at mag 0.5. Both objects will lie in the constellation Virgo.

They will be a little too widely separated to fit comfortably within the field of view of a telescope, but will be visible to the naked eye or through a pair of binoculars.

At around the same time, the pair will also share the same right ascension – called a conjunction.

A graph of the angular separation between Venus and Saturn around the time of closest approach is available here.

The positions of the pair at the moment of closest approach will be as follows:

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Magnitude Angular Size
Venus 14h17m00s -11°53' Virgo -4.0 11"9
Saturn 14h17m40s -11°23' Virgo 0.5 15"6

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0. The pair will be at an angular separation of 29° from the Sun, which is in Scorpius at this time of year.

The sky on 26 November 2012
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

13-day old moon
Waxing Gibbous


13 days old

Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 05:54 10:51 15:47
Venus 04:51 10:01 15:12
Moon 15:28 22:57 05:27
Mars 10:12 14:17 18:22
Jupiter 16:40 00:30 08:16
Saturn 04:51 10:03 15:16
All times shown in PST.


The circumstances of this event were computed using the DE405 planetary ephemeris published by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

This event was automatically generated by searching the ephemeris for planetary alignments which are of interest to amateur astronomers, and the text above was generated based on an estimate of your location.

Related news

25 Oct 2012  –  Saturn at solar conjunction
28 Apr 2013  –  Saturn at opposition
06 Nov 2013  –  Saturn at solar conjunction
10 May 2014  –  Saturn at opposition

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