The Moon and Saturn will make a close approach, passing within 3°36' of each other. The Moon will be 26 days old.
From Washington, the pair will be visible in the dawn sky, rising at 04:59 (MDT) – 2 hours and 43 minutes before the Sun – and reaching an altitude of 21° above the south-eastern horizon before fading from view as dawn breaks around 07:24.
The Moon will be at mag -10.3; and Saturn will be at mag 0.4. Both objects will lie in the constellation Ophiuchus.
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.
A graph of the angular separation between the Moon and Saturn 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 40° from the Sun, which is in Capricornus at this time of year.
|The sky on 24 January 2017|
26 days old
All times shown in MST.
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.
|10 Dec 2016||– Saturn at solar conjunction|
|15 Jun 2017||– Saturn at opposition|
|21 Dec 2017||– Saturn at solar conjunction|
|17 Apr 2018||– Saturn at aphelion|
The Moon in conjunction with Venus and Jupiter, with the Very Large Telescope in the foreground. Image © Y. Beletsky, ESO, 2009.