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 Saturn

Tue, 24 Jan 2017 at05:53 EST(358 days ago)
10:53 UTC

Dominic Ford, Editor
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Ashburn
The sky at

The Moon and Saturn will make a close approach, passing within 3°36' of each other. The Moon will be 26 days old.

From Ashburn (click to change), the pair will be difficult to observe as they will appear no higher than 19° above the horizon. They will be visible in the dawn sky, rising at 04:39 (EST) – 2 hours and 43 minutes before the Sun – and reach an altitude of 19° above the south-eastern horizon before fading from view as dawn breaks at around 07:03.

The Moon will be at mag -10.3, and Saturn at mag 0.4, both in the constellation Ophiuchus.

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 Saturn 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 17h33m40s -18°24' Ophiuchus -10.3 29'44"4
Saturn 17h32m30s -22°00' Ophiuchus 0.4 15"4

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0. The pair will be at an angular separation of 40° from the Sun, which is in Capricornus at this time of year.

The sky on 24 January 2017
Sunrise 07:21
Sunset 17:20
Twilight ends
18:53
Twilight begins
05:48

26-day old moon
Age of Moon
26 days

All times shown in EST.
Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 05:56 10:41 15:26
Venus 09:25 15:19 21:13
Moon 04:34 09:34 14:35
Mars 09:45 15:43 21:40
Jupiter 23:37 05:20 10:58
Saturn 04:39 09:26 14:13

Source

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

03 Jun 2016, 02:25 EDT  –  Saturn at opposition
15 Jun 2017, 06:05 EDT  –  Saturn at opposition
27 Jun 2018, 09:15 EDT  –  Saturn at opposition
09 Jul 2019, 12:55 EDT  –  Saturn 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.

Ashburn

Latitude:
Longitude:
Timezone:

39.04°N
77.49°W
EST

Color scheme