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(37 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 Newark (click to change), the pair will be visible in the dawn sky, rising at 02:55 (EDT) – 3 hours and 49 minutes before the Sun – and reach an altitude of 25° above the southern horizon before fading from view as dawn breaks at around 06:26.

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.

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: 06:42
Sunset: 17:36
from 05:11
until 19:07

23-day old moon
Age of Moon:
23 days

All times shown in EST.
Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 06:24 11:28 16:32
Venus 07:50 14:23 20:56
Moon 02:14 07:13 12:11
Mars 08:30 14:56 21:22
Jupiter 21:39 03:20 08:57
Saturn 02:55 07:36 12:18


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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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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