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 Saturn

Dominic Ford, Editor
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The Moon and Saturn will make a close approach, passing within 3°17' of each other. The Moon will be 27 days old.

From Ashburn, the pair will be visible in the dawn sky, rising at 04:53 (EST) – 2 hours and 36 minutes before the Sun – and reaching an altitude of 19° above the south-eastern horizon before fading from view as dawn breaks around 07:09.

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The Moon will be at mag -10.0; and Saturn will be at mag 0.4. Both objects 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 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 16h42m40s -17°17' Ophiuchus -10.0 30'29"2
Saturn 16h41m10s -20°33' Ophiuchus 0.4 15"3

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

The sky on 07 January 2016
Sunrise
07:29
Sunset
17:02
Twilight ends
18:38
Twilight begins
05:54

27-day old moon
Waning Crescent

8%

27 days old

Planets
Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 08:14 13:13 18:11
Venus 04:44 09:38 14:32
Moon 05:05 10:08 15:11
Mars 01:38 07:06 12:33
Jupiter 22:22 04:41 10:57
Saturn 04:53 09:46 14:38
All times shown in EST.

Source

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

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

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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Ashburn

Latitude:
Longitude:
Timezone:

39.04°N
77.49°W
EST

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