The Moon in conjunction with Venus and Jupiter, with the Very Large Telescope in the foreground. Image © Y. Beletsky, ESO, 2009.

Conjunction of the Moon and Saturn

Tue, 29 Mar 2016 at10:36 EDT(724 days ago)
14:36 UTC

Dominic Ford, Editor
From the Conjunctions feed

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The sky at

The Moon and Saturn will share the same right ascension, with the Moon passing 3°29' to the north of Saturn. The Moon will be 20 days old.

At around the same time, the two objects will also make a close approach, technically called an appulse.

From Ashburn (click to change), the pair will be visible in the morning sky, becoming accessible at around 01:42, when they rise 7° above your south-eastern horizon. They will then reach its highest point in the sky at 05:41, 29° above your southern horizon. They will be lost to dawn twilight at around 06:40, 28° above your southern horizon.

The Moon will be at mag -12.2, and Saturn at mag 0.2, 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.

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 conjunction will be as follows:

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Magnitude Angular Size
The Moon 17h00m40s -17°28' Ophiuchus -12.2 29'55"7
Saturn 17h00m40s -20°58' Ophiuchus 0.2 17"3

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0. The pair will be at an angular separation of 113° from the Sun, which is in Pisces at this time of year.

The sky on 29 March 2016
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

20-day old moon
Waning Gibbous


20 days old

Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 07:15 13:36 19:58
Venus 06:22 12:09 17:56
Moon 00:25 05:30 10:35
Mars 00:08 05:00 09:53
Jupiter 17:20 23:46 06:16
Saturn 00:50 05:41 10:32
All times shown in EDT.


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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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.




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