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

Fri, 12 Aug 2016 at08:50 EDT(524 days ago)
12:50 UTC

Dominic Ford, Editor
From the Appulses feed

Please wait
Loading 0/4
Click and drag to rotate
Mouse wheel to zoom in/out
Touch with mouse to dismiss
The sky at

The Moon and Saturn will make a close approach, passing within 3°37' of each other. The Moon will be 10 days old.

From Ashburn (click to change), the pair will become visible at around 20:24 (EST) as the dusk sky fades, 30° above your southern horizon. They will then sink towards the horizon, setting 5 hours and 7 minutes after the Sun at 01:12.

The Moon will be at mag -12.1, 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.

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 16h34m40s -16°41' Ophiuchus -12.1 29'50"5
Saturn 16h32m30s -20°17' Ophiuchus 0.2 17"2

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0. The pair will be at an angular separation of 109° from the Sun, which is in Leo at this time of year.

The sky on 12 August 2016
Sunrise 06:19
Sunset 20:07
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

10-day old moon
Age of Moon
10 days

All times shown in EDT.
Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 08:38 14:54 21:10
Venus 07:51 14:26 21:01
Moon 15:37 20:41 01:05
Mars 15:08 19:48 00:30
Jupiter 09:09 15:23 21:37
Saturn 15:21 20:15 01:12


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 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
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.




Color scheme