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 Jupiter

Tue, 23 Feb 2016 at22:01 EST(759 days ago)
03:01 UTC

Dominic Ford, Editor
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The sky at

The Moon and Jupiter will make a close approach, passing within 1°36' of each other. The Moon will be 16 days old.

From Ashburn (click to change), the pair will be visible in the morning sky, becoming accessible at around 19:44, when they rise 7° above your eastern horizon. They will then reach its highest point in the sky at 01:24, 56° above your southern horizon. They will be lost to dawn twilight at around 06:35, 13° above your western horizon.

The Moon will be at mag -12.6, and Jupiter at mag -2.5, both in the constellation Leo.

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 Jupiter 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 11h22m40s +03°51' Leo -12.6 29'44"8
Jupiter 11h24m40s +05°23' Leo -2.5 43"1

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0. The pair will be at an angular separation of 164° from the Sun, which is in Aquarius at this time of year.

The sky on 23 February 2016
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

15-day old moon
Waning Gibbous


15 days old

Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 06:01 11:01 16:02
Venus 05:39 10:39 15:38
Moon 19:10 00:40 07:08
Mars 00:28 05:31 10:34
Jupiter 18:59 01:24 07:45
Saturn 02:05 06:56 11:46
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

06 Feb 2015, 13:09 EST  –  Jupiter at opposition
08 Mar 2016, 05:46 EST  –  Jupiter at opposition
07 Apr 2017, 17:28 EDT  –  Jupiter at opposition
08 May 2018, 20:28 EDT  –  Jupiter 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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