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 Neptune

Wed, 09 Aug 2017 at19:06 EDT(72 days ago)
23:06 UTC

Dominic Ford, Editor
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The sky at

The Moon and Neptune will make a close approach, passing within 0°49' of each other. The Moon will be 17 days old.

From Ashburn (click to change), the pair will be visible in the morning sky, becoming accessible at around 22:00, when they rise 7° above your eastern horizon. They will then reach its highest point in the sky at 02:57, 43° above your southern horizon. They will be lost to dawn twilight at around 06:00, 27° above your south-western horizon.

The Moon will be at mag -12.5, and Neptune at mag 7.8, both in the constellation Aquarius.

The pair will be a little too widely separated to fit comfortably within the field of view of a telescope, but will be visible through a pair of binoculars.

A graph of the angular separation between the Moon and Neptune 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 23h00m50s -08°12' Aquarius -12.5 30'50"1
Neptune 22h59m50s -07°25' Aquarius 7.8 2"3

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0. The pair will be at an angular separation of 154° from the Sun, which is in Cancer at this time of year.

The sky on 09 August 2017
Sunrise 06:16
Sunset 20:11
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

17-day old moon
Age of Moon
17 days

All times shown in EDT.
Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 08:23 14:40 20:57
Venus 03:21 10:40 18:00
Moon 21:31 02:23 07:50
Mars 05:53 12:58 20:03
Jupiter 11:20 17:04 22:47
Saturn 16:29 21:16 02:08


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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02 Mar 2017, 21:46 ESTNeptune at solar conjunction
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04 Mar 2018, 08:56 ESTNeptune at solar conjunction
07 Sep 2018, 14:12 EDTNeptune 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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