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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Ashburn
The sky at

The Moon and Saturn will make a close approach, passing within 3°33' of each other. The Moon will be 23 days old.

From Ashburn, the pair will be visible in the dawn sky, rising at 01:35 (EST) – 5 hours and 4 minutes before the Sun – and reach an altitude of 29° above the southern horizon before fading from view as dawn breaks at around 06:21.

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The Moon will be at mag -11.8, 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 17h00m10s -17°26' Ophiuchus -11.8 30'11"4
Saturn 16h58m40s -20°58' Ophiuchus 0.3 16"5

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0. The pair will be at an angular separation of 86° from the Sun, which is in Aquarius at this time of year.

The sky on 02 March 2016
Sunrise
06:39
Sunset
18:02
Twilight ends
19:31
Twilight begins
05:10

23-day old moon
Waning Crescent

46%

23 days old

Planets
Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 06:06 11:19 16:32
Venus 05:39 10:47 15:56
Moon 01:32 06:36 11:40
Mars 00:13 05:13 10:13
Jupiter 18:23 00:49 07:11
Saturn 01:35 06:26 11:16
All times shown in EST.

Source

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

22 May 2015, 21:22 EDT  –  Saturn at opposition
03 Jun 2016, 02:25 EDT  –  Saturn at opposition
15 Jun 2017, 06:05 EDT  –  Saturn at opposition
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.

Ashburn

Latitude:
Longitude:
Timezone:

39.04°N
77.49°W
EST

Color scheme