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Close approach of the Moon, Venus and Saturn

Dominic Ford, Editor
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The sky at

The Moon, Venus and Saturn will make a close approach, passing within 3°49' of each other. The Moon will be 27 days old.

From Seattle, the trio will be difficult to observe as they will appear no higher than 15° above the horizon. They will be visible in the dawn sky, rising at 05:21 (PST) – 2 hours and 39 minutes before the Sun – and reaching an altitude of 15° above the south-eastern horizon before fading from view as dawn breaks around 07:36.

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 -10.0; Venus will be at mag -4.0; and Saturn will be at mag 0.4. The trio will lie in the constellation Ophiuchus.

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 trio will also share the same right ascension – called a conjunction.

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

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

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Magnitude Angular Size
The Moon 16h42m40s -17°17' Ophiuchus -10.0 30'29"2
Venus 16h31m40s -20°04' Ophiuchus -4.0 13"8
Saturn 16h41m10s -20°33' Ophiuchus 0.4 15"3

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0. The trio will be at an angular separation of 34° from the Sun, which is in Sagittarius at this time of year.

The sky on 06 January 2016
Sunrise
07:57
Sunset
16:33
Twilight ends
18:24
Twilight begins
06:05

26-day old moon
Waning Crescent

8%

26 days old

Planets
Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 08:43 13:17 17:51
Venus 05:06 09:37 14:07
Moon 04:34 09:23 14:13
Mars 01:50 07:07 12:23
Jupiter 22:20 04:44 11:05
Saturn 05:21 09:48 14:15
All times shown in PST.

Source

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

29 Nov 2015  –  Saturn at solar conjunction
02 Jun 2016  –  Saturn at opposition
10 Dec 2016  –  Saturn at solar conjunction
15 Jun 2017  –  Saturn at opposition

Image credit

None available.

Seattle

Latitude:
Longitude:
Timezone:

47.61°N
122.33°W
PST

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