The Moon and Mercury will share the same right ascension, with the Moon passing 0°42' to the south of Mercury. The Moon will be 28 days old.
From Ashburn, the pair will be difficult to observe as they will appear no higher than 13° above the horizon. They will be visible in the dawn sky, rising at 05:34 (EDT) – 1 hour and 30 minutes before the Sun – and reaching an altitude of 13° above the eastern horizon before fading from view as dawn breaks around 06:47.
The Moon will be at mag -8.5, and Mercury at mag -0.6, 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.
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 conjunction will be as follows:
|Object||Right Ascension||Declination||Constellation||Magnitude||Angular Size|
The coordinates above are given in J2000.0. The pair will be at an angular separation of 17° from the Sun, which is in Virgo at this time of year.
|The sky on 29 September 2016|
28 days old
All times shown in EDT.
Never attempt to point a pair of binoculars or a telescope at an object close to the Sun. Doing so may result in immediate and permanent blindness.
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.
|28 Sep 2016||– Mercury at dichotomy|
|30 Sep 2016||– Mercury reaches highest point in morning sky|
|27 Oct 2016||– Mercury at superior solar conjunction|
|11 Nov 2016||– Mercury at aphelion|