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

Sun, 16 Apr 2017 at14:42 EDT(277 days ago)
18:42 UTC

Dominic Ford, Editor
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The sky at

The Moon and Saturn will make a close approach, passing within 3°13' of each other. The Moon will be 19 days old.

From Ashburn (click to change), the pair will be visible in the morning sky, becoming accessible at around 01:26, when they rise 7° above your south-eastern horizon. They will then reach its highest point in the sky at 05:20, 28° above your southern horizon. They will be lost to dawn twilight at around 06:13, 27° above your southern horizon.

The Moon will be at mag -12.2, and Saturn at mag 0.1, both in the constellation Sagittarius.

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 17h49m50s -18°50' Sagittarius -12.2 29'31"5
Saturn 17h49m00s -22°03' Sagittarius 0.1 17"4

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0. The pair will be at an angular separation of 119° from the Sun, which is in Pisces at this time of year.

The sky on 16 April 2017
Sunrise 06:30
Sunset 19:46
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

19-day old moon
Age of Moon
19 days

All times shown in EDT.
Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 06:35 13:27 20:19
Venus 05:00 11:11 17:22
Moon 00:00 05:00 10:00
Mars 07:54 15:05 22:17
Jupiter 18:46 00:36 06:22
Saturn 00:33 05:20 10:06


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
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.




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