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Close approach of Venus and Saturn

Dominic Ford, Editor
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The sky at

Venus and Saturn will make a close approach, passing within 0°05' of each other.

From Fairfield, the pair will be difficult to observe as they will appear no higher than 19° above the horizon. They will be visible in the dawn sky, rising at 04:39 (EST) – 2 hours and 42 minutes before the Sun – and reaching an altitude of 19° above the south-eastern horizon before fading from view as dawn breaks around 07:01.

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Venus will be at mag -4.0; and Saturn will be at mag 0.4. Both objects will lie in the constellation Ophiuchus.

They will be close enough to fit within the field of view of a telescope, but will also 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 Venus 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
Venus 16h42m00s -20°29' Ophiuchus -4.0 13"7
Saturn 16h42m00s -20°34' Ophiuchus 0.4 15"4

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0. The pair will be at an angular separation of 36° from the Sun, which is in Sagittarius at this time of year.

The sky on 08 January 2016
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

28-day old moon
Waning Crescent


28 days old

Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 07:55 12:50 17:44
Venus 04:35 09:23 14:10
Moon 05:48 10:43 15:39
Mars 01:23 06:47 12:11
Jupiter 22:00 04:21 10:37
Saturn 04:38 09:25 14:12
All times shown in EST.


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

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