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 Jupiter

Thu, 22 Dec 2016 at13:14 EST(456 days ago)
18:14 UTC

Dominic Ford, Editor
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The sky at

The Moon and Jupiter will make a close approach, passing within 2°17' of each other. The Moon will be 23 days old.

From Ashburn (click to change), the pair will be visible in the dawn sky, rising at 01:37 (EDT) – 5 hours and 49 minutes before the Sun – and reach an altitude of 44° above the southern horizon before fading from view as dawn breaks at around 07:06.

The Moon will be at mag -11.4, and Jupiter at mag -1.9, both in the constellation Virgo.

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 Jupiter 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 13h18m00s -04°25' Virgo -11.4 29'40"4
Jupiter 13h15m00s -06°35' Virgo -1.9 33"8

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0. The pair will be at an angular separation of 71° from the Sun, which is in Sagittarius at this time of year.

The sky on 22 December 2016
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

23-day old moon
Waning Crescent


23 days old

Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 08:16 13:03 17:49
Venus 10:19 15:23 20:27
Moon 01:18 07:10 13:02
Mars 10:56 16:21 21:46
Jupiter 01:37 07:19 13:00
Saturn 06:32 11:20 16:08
All times shown in EST.


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

08 Mar 2016, 05:46 EST  –  Jupiter at opposition
07 Apr 2017, 17:28 EDT  –  Jupiter at opposition
08 May 2018, 20:28 EDT  –  Jupiter at opposition
10 Jun 2019, 11:17 EDT  –  Jupiter 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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