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

Sat, 18 Jun 2016 at21:05 EDT(579 days ago)
01:05 UTC

Dominic Ford, Editor
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The sky at

The Moon and Saturn will make a close approach, passing within 3°13' of each other. The Moon will be 14 days old.

From Ashburn (click to change), the pair will be visible in the evening sky, becoming accessible at around 20:58 (EST) as the dusk sky fades, 16° above your south-eastern horizon. They will then reach its highest point in the sky at 00:04, 30° above your southern horizon. They will continue to be observable until around 04:06, when they sink to 8° above your south-western horizon.

The Moon will be at mag -12.5, and Saturn at mag 0.0, 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 16h43m30s -17°14' Ophiuchus -12.5 29'54"4
Saturn 16h41m50s -20°25' Ophiuchus 0.0 18"3

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0. The pair will be at an angular separation of 163° from the Sun, which is in Taurus at this time of year.

The sky on 18 June 2016
Sunrise 05:42
Sunset 20:37
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

13-day old moon
Age of Moon
13 days

All times shown in EDT.
Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 04:36 11:48 18:59
Venus 05:56 13:24 20:51
Moon 19:03 00:08 04:31
Mars 17:50 22:41 03:36
Jupiter 12:02 18:27 00:56
Saturn 19:07 00:04 04:57


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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03 Jun 2016, 02:25 EDT  –  Saturn at opposition
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27 Jun 2018, 09:15 EDT  –  Saturn at opposition
09 Jul 2019, 12:55 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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