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

Dominic Ford, Editor
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The sky at

The Moon and Jupiter will make a close approach, passing within 2°33' of each other. The Moon will be 21 days old.

From Fairfield, the pair will be visible in the morning sky, becoming accessible around 00:33, when they reach an altitude of 8° above your eastern horizon. They will then reach their highest point in the sky at 05:23, 41° above your southern horizon. They will be lost to dawn twilight around 06:55, 36° above your south-western horizon.

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The Moon will be at mag -12.0; and Jupiter will be at mag -2.1. Both objects will lie in the constellation Virgo.

They 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 pair 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 pair at the moment of closest approach will be as follows:

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Magnitude Angular Size
The Moon 13h28m00s -05°01' Virgo -12.0 29'50"5
Jupiter 13h24m50s -07°27' Virgo -2.1 36"7

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0. The pair will be at an angular separation of 96° from the Sun, which is in Sagittarius at this time of year.

The sky on 19 January 2017
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

21-day old moon
Waning Gibbous


21 days old

Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 05:40 10:21 15:02
Venus 09:21 15:06 20:51
Moon 23:39 05:34 11:19
Mars 09:43 15:35 21:27
Jupiter 23:47 05:24 11:00
Saturn 04:46 09:27 14:08
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.

Related news

08 Mar 2016  –  Jupiter at opposition
07 Apr 2017  –  Jupiter at opposition
08 May 2018  –  Jupiter at opposition
10 Jun 2019  –  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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