The planets Venus and Neptune will make a close approach, passing within a mere 21.8 arcminutes of each other.
From Ashburn, the pair will become visible around 17:27 (EDT) as the dusk sky fades, 34° above your south-western horizon. They will then sink towards the horizon, setting 3 hours and 55 minutes after the Sun at 21:02.
Venus will be at mag -4.4; and Neptune will be at mag 7.9. Both objects will lie in the constellation Aquarius.
They will be close enough to fit within the field of view of a telescope, but will also be visible through a pair of binoculars.
A graph of the angular separation between Venus and Neptune around the time of closest approach is available here.
The positions of the pair at the moment of closest approach 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 47° from the Sun, which is in Sagittarius at this time of year.
|The sky on 12 January 2017|
14 days old
All times shown in EST.
The circumstances of this event were computed using the DE430 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.
|02 Sep 2016||– Neptune at opposition|
|01 Mar 2017||– Neptune at solar conjunction|
|05 Sep 2017||– Neptune at opposition|
|04 Mar 2018||– Neptune at solar conjunction|
The Moon in conjunction with Venus and Jupiter, with the Very Large Telescope in the foreground. Image © Y. Beletsky, ESO, 2009.