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°18' of each other. The Moon will be 18 days old.

From Ashburn, the pair will be visible in the morning sky, becoming accessible at around 23:48, when they rise 7° above your south-eastern horizon. They will then reach its highest point in the sky at 03:52, 30° above your southern horizon. They will be lost to dawn twilight at around 06:00, 22° above your south-western horizon.

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The Moon will be at mag -12.4, and Saturn at mag 0.1, 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 16h58m40s -17°32' Ophiuchus -12.4 29'48"6
Saturn 16h57m20s -20°50' Ophiuchus 0.1 18"0

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0. The pair will be at an angular separation of 140° from the Sun, which is in Aries at this time of year.

The sky on 25 April 2016
Sunrise
06:17
Sunset
19:55
Twilight ends
21:34
Twilight begins
04:38

18-day old moon
Waning Gibbous

88%

18 days old

Planets
Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 06:55 14:12 21:29
Venus 05:56 12:25 18:55
Moon 23:13 03:27 08:34
Mars 22:28 03:21 08:09
Jupiter 15:23 21:52 04:25
Saturn 22:56 03:52 08:43
All times shown in EDT.

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

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