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Close approach of the Moon and Saturn

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 Fairfield, the pair will be visible in the dawn sky, rising at 03:07 (EDT) – 3 hours and 57 minutes before the Sun – and reaching an altitude of 25° above the southern horizon before fading from view as dawn breaks around 06:45.

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 -11.1; and Saturn will be at mag 0.3. 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 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
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

24-day old moon
Waning Crescent


24 days old

Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 05:36 10:21 15:07
Venus 05:18 09:57 14:37
Moon 02:38 07:40 12:41
Mars 00:49 05:57 11:05
Jupiter 20:12 02:35 08:53
Saturn 03:07 07:53 12:39
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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