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

Mon, 20 Feb 2017 at18:54 EST(370 days ago)
23:54 UTC

Dominic Ford, Editor
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The sky at

The Moon and Saturn will make a close approach, passing within 3°34' 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 03:03 (EST) – 3 hours and 52 minutes before the Sun – and reach an altitude of 26° above the southern horizon before fading from view as dawn breaks at around 06:37.

The Moon will be at mag -11.3 in the constellation Sagittarius, and Saturn at mag 0.3 in the neighbouring constellation of 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 17h43m40s -18°30' Sagittarius -11.3 29'44"7
Saturn 17h42m40s -22°04' Ophiuchus 0.3 15"9

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0. The pair will be at an angular separation of 66° from the Sun, which is in Aquarius at this time of year.

The sky on 20 February 2017
Sunrise 06:53
Sunset 17:51
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

23-day old moon
Age of Moon
23 days

All times shown in EST.
Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 06:34 11:41 16:49
Venus 08:05 14:36 21:07
Moon 02:24 07:26 12:28
Mars 08:45 15:09 21:34
Jupiter 21:50 03:33 09:12
Saturn 03:03 07:49 12:36


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.

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03 Jun 2016, 02:25 EDT  –  Saturn at opposition
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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.




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