The Moon in conjunction with Venus and Jupiter, with the Very Large Telescope in the foreground. Image © Y. Beletsky, ESO, 2009.

Conjunction of Mercury and Neptune

Dominic Ford, Editor
From the Conjunctions feed

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The sky at

Mercury and Neptune will share the same right ascension, with Mercury passing 0°27' to the south of Neptune.

From Cambridge, the pair will be difficult to observe as they will appear no higher than 8° above the horizon. They will become visible around 17:24 (EDT) as the dusk sky fades, 8° above your south-western horizon. They will then sink towards the horizon, setting 1 hour and 11 minutes after the Sun at 18:15.

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Mercury will be at mag -1.0, and Neptune at mag 8.0, both in the constellation Aquarius.

The pair will be close enough to fit within the field of view of a telescope, but will also be visible through a pair of binoculars.

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

The positions of the two objects at the moment of conjunction will be as follows:

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Magnitude Angular Size
Mercury 22h17m10s -11°45' Aquarius -1.0 5"6
Neptune 22h17m10s -11°17' Aquarius 8.0 2"2

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0. The pair will be at an angular separation of 13° from the Sun, which is in Capricornus at this time of year.

The sky on 06 February 2013
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

26-day old moon
Waning Crescent


26 days old

Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 07:35 12:53 18:12
Venus 06:22 11:10 15:57
Moon 03:41 08:25 13:08
Mars 07:38 13:00 18:22
Jupiter 11:29 18:54 02:22
Saturn 23:57 05:16 10:32
All times shown in EST.


Never attempt to point a pair of binoculars or a telescope at an object close to the Sun. Doing so may result in immediate and permanent blindness.


The circumstances of this event were computed using the DE430 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

24 Aug 2012  –  Neptune at opposition
21 Feb 2013  –  Neptune at solar conjunction
26 Aug 2013  –  Neptune at opposition
23 Feb 2014  –  Neptune at solar conjunction

Image credit

The Moon in conjunction with Venus and Jupiter, with the Very Large Telescope in the foreground. Image © Y. Beletsky, ESO, 2009.






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