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Close approach of the Moon and Saturn

Dominic Ford, Editor
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The Moon and Saturn will make a close approach, passing within 1°58' of each other. The Moon will be 17 days old.

From Fairfield, the pair will be visible in the morning sky, becoming accessible around 22:00, when they rise to an altitude of 7° above your south-eastern horizon. They will then reach its highest point in the sky at 02:07, 30° above your southern horizon. They will be lost to dawn twilight around 05:27, 14° above your south-western horizon.

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 -12.6; and Saturn will be at mag 0.0. Both objects will lie in the constellation Scorpius.

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 16h05m20s -16°35' Scorpius -12.6 30'38"1
Saturn 16h04m10s -18°32' Scorpius 0.0 18"4

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0. The pair will be at an angular separation of 161° from the Sun, which is in Aries at this time of year.

The sky on 05 May 2015
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

17-day old moon
Waning Gibbous


17 days old

Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 06:39 14:14 21:48
Venus 08:05 15:49 23:33
Moon 21:36 01:44 06:51
Mars 06:17 13:32 20:47
Jupiter 11:57 19:05 02:16
Saturn 21:08 02:07 07:02
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

18 Nov 2014  –  Saturn at solar conjunction
22 May 2015  –  Saturn at opposition
29 Nov 2015  –  Saturn at solar conjunction
03 Jun 2016  –  Saturn at opposition

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