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

Close approach of the Moon and Jupiter

Dominic Ford, Editor
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The sky at

The Moon and Jupiter will make a close approach, passing within a mere 53.8 arcminutes of each other. The Moon will be 8 days old.

From Cambridge, the pair will be visible in the evening sky, becoming accessible around 17:37 (EDT) as the dusk sky fades, 67° above your southern horizon. They will then reach their highest point in the sky at 18:09, 68° above your southern horizon. They will continue to be observable until around 00:47, when they sink below 7° above your western horizon.

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The Moon will be at mag -11.9; and Jupiter will be at mag -2.4. Both objects will lie in the constellation Taurus.

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 the Moon and Jupiter 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
The Moon 04h20m10s +20°01' Taurus -11.9 29'33"4
Jupiter 04h19m50s +20°55' Taurus -2.4 39"6

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0. The pair will be at an angular separation of 96° from the Sun, which is in Aquarius at this time of year.

The sky on 18 February 2013
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

8-day old moon
Waxing Gibbous


8 days old

Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 07:12 13:03 18:54
Venus 06:20 11:23 16:27
Moon 11:11 18:34 01:04
Mars 07:13 12:48 18:24
Jupiter 10:44 18:09 01:38
Saturn 23:11 04:30 09:45
All times shown in EST.


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

02 Dec 2012  –  Jupiter at opposition
19 Jun 2013  –  Jupiter at solar conjunction
05 Jan 2014  –  Jupiter at opposition
24 Jul 2014  –  Jupiter 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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