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

Wed, 03 Feb 2016 at14:27 EST(715 days ago)
19:27 UTC

Dominic Ford, Editor
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The sky at

The Moon and Saturn will make a close approach, passing within 3°28' of each other. The Moon will be 24 days old.

From Ashburn (click to change), the pair will be visible in the dawn sky, rising at 03:17 (EST) – 3 hours and 58 minutes before the Sun – and reach an altitude of 27° above the southern horizon before fading from view as dawn breaks at around 06:57.

The Moon will be at mag -11.1, and Saturn at mag 0.3, both in the constellation Ophiuchus.

The pair 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 two objects 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 two objects at the moment of closest approach will be as follows:

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Magnitude Angular Size
The Moon 16h53m20s -17°23' Ophiuchus -11.1 30'25"5
Saturn 16h51m50s -20°50' Ophiuchus 0.3 15"8

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0. The pair will be at an angular separation of 60° from the Sun, which is in Capricornus at this time of year.

The sky on 03 February 2016
Sunrise 07:14
Sunset 17:31
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

24-day old moon
Age of Moon
24 days

All times shown in EST.
Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 05:46 10:37 15:28
Venus 05:27 10:13 14:59
Moon 02:50 07:56 13:02
Mars 01:01 06:13 11:25
Jupiter 20:28 02:50 09:08
Saturn 03:17 08:09 13:00


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.

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27 Jun 2018, 09:15 EDT  –  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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