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Close approach of the Moon, Mars and Saturn

Dominic Ford, Editor
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The sky at

The Moon, Mars and Saturn will make a close approach, passing within 8°01' of each other. The Moon will be 10 days old.

From Cambridge, the trio will become visible around 20:10 (EDT) as the dusk sky fades, 23° above your southern horizon. They will then sink towards the horizon, setting at 23:55.

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 -12.0 in Scorpius; Mars will be at mag -0.6 in Scorpius; and Saturn will be at mag 0.2 in Ophiuchus.

They will be too widely separated to fit within the field of view of a telescope or pair of binoculars, but will be visible to the naked eye.

At around the same time, the trio will also share the same right ascension – called a conjunction.

A graph of the angular separation between the Moon and Mars around the time of closest approach is available here.

The positions of the trio at the moment of closest approach will be as follows:

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Magnitude Angular Size
The Moon 16h09m50s -15°45' Scorpius -12.0 29'44"2
Mars 16h04m00s -23°40' Scorpius -0.6 11"9
Saturn 16h32m30s -20°17' Ophiuchus 0.2 17"2

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0. The trio will be at an angular separation of 103° from the Sun, which is in Leo at this time of year.

The sky on 11 August 2016
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

9-day old moon
Waxing Gibbous


9 days old

Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 08:10 14:30 20:49
Venus 07:20 14:01 20:42
Moon 14:24 19:29 00:34
Mars 14:56 19:26 23:55
Jupiter 08:46 15:02 21:17
Saturn 15:09 19:54 00:43
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

30 May 2016  –  Mars at perigee
29 Oct 2016  –  Mars at perihelion
26 Jul 2017  –  Mars at solar conjunction
05 Aug 2017  –  Mars at apogee

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