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

Tue, 03 Oct 2017 at08:39 EDT(8 days away)
12:39 UTC

Dominic Ford, Editor
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The sky at

The Moon and Neptune will make a close approach, passing within 0°42' of each other. The Moon will be 13 days old.

From Ashburn (click to change), the pair will be visible in the evening sky, becoming accessible at around 19:04 (EDT) as the dusk sky fades, 15° above your south-eastern horizon. They will then reach its highest point in the sky at 23:12, 42° above your southern horizon. They will continue to be observable until around 04:07, when they sink to 7° above your western horizon.

The Moon will be at mag -12.6, 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 22h55m20s -08°39' Aquarius -12.6 31'08"0
Neptune 22h54m30s -07°58' Aquarius 7.8 2"3

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0. The pair will be at an angular separation of 151° from the Sun, which is in Virgo at this time of year.

The sky on 03 October 2017
Sunrise 07:06
Sunset 18:48
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

13-day old moon
Age of Moon
13 days

All times shown in EDT.
Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 06:46 12:45 18:45
Venus 05:07 11:31 17:56
Moon 18:02 23:45 04:24
Mars 05:13 11:36 17:58
Jupiter 08:35 14:06 19:36
Saturn 12:58 17:44 22:31


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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05 Sep 2017, 01:13 EDTNeptune at opposition
04 Mar 2018, 08:56 ESTNeptune at solar conjunction
07 Sep 2018, 14:12 EDTNeptune at opposition
07 Mar 2019, 20:02 ESTNeptune at solar conjunction

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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