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Close approach of the Moon and Saturn

Dominic Ford, Editor
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The sky at

The Moon and Saturn will make a close approach, passing within 3°14' of each other. The Moon will be 8 days old.

From Fairfield, the pair will become visible around 20:44 (EST) as the dusk sky fades, 35° above your south-western horizon. They will then sink towards the horizon, setting at 00:56.

Begin typing the name of a town near to you, and then select the town from the list of options which appear below.

The Moon will be at mag -12.1; and Saturn will be at mag 0.4. Both objects will lie in the constellation Virgo.

They will be too widely separated to fit 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 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
The Moon 14h09m40s -13°55' Virgo -12.1 31'49"8
Saturn 14h13m00s -10°47' Virgo 0.4 17"2

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0. The pair will be at an angular separation of 100° from the Sun, which is in Gemini at this time of year.

The sky on 16 July 2013
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

8-day old moon
Waxing Gibbous


8 days old

Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 05:04 12:13 19:23
Venus 07:59 14:58 21:57
Moon 14:09 19:23 00:01
Mars 03:48 11:23 18:59
Jupiter 04:03 11:35 19:06
Saturn 14:02 19:27 00:56
All times shown in EDT.


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

28 Apr 2013  –  Saturn at opposition
06 Nov 2013  –  Saturn at solar conjunction
10 May 2014  –  Saturn at opposition
18 Nov 2014  –  Saturn at solar conjunction

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