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 Mercury

Dominic Ford, Editor
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The Moon and Mercury will make a close approach, passing within 0°32' of each other. The Moon will be 2 days old.

From Ashburn, the pair will be difficult to observe as they will appear no higher than 9° above the horizon. They will become visible around 20:35 (EDT) as the dusk sky fades, 9° above your western horizon. They will then sink towards the horizon, setting 1 hour and 7 minutes after the Sun at 21:23.

Begin typing the name of a town near to you, and then select the town from the list of options which appear below.

The Moon will be at mag -9.2, and Mercury at mag -0.0, both in the constellation Leo.

The pair will be a little too widely separated to fit comfortably 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 Mercury 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 10h35m40s +08°20' Leo -9.2 30'33"3
Mercury 10h36m10s +08°51' Leo -0.0 6"2

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0. The pair will be at an angular separation of 24° from the Sun, which is in Cancer at this time of year.

The sky on 04 August 2016
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

2-day old moon
Waxing Crescent


2 days old

Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 08:18 14:50 21:22
Venus 07:33 14:20 21:07
Moon 08:11 14:43 21:16
Mars 15:22 20:05 00:50
Jupiter 09:33 15:49 22:05
Saturn 15:53 20:46 01:44
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.

Related news

03 Aug 2016  –  Mercury reaches highest point in evening sky
16 Aug 2016  –  Mercury at greatest elongation east
28 Sep 2016  –  Mercury at greatest elongation west
01 Oct 2016  –  Mercury reaches highest point in morning sky

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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