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Close approach of the Moon and Saturn

Dominic Ford, Editor
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The sky at

The Moon and Saturn will make a close approach, passing within 2°07' of each other. The Moon will be 10 days old.

From Cambridge, the pair will be visible in the evening sky, becoming accessible around 19:54 (EDT) as the dusk sky fades, 23° above your southern horizon. They will then reach its highest point in the sky at 20:55, 24° above your southern horizon. They will continue to be observable until around 00:35, when they sink below 7° above your south-western horizon.

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The Moon will be at mag -12.3; and Saturn will be at mag 0.1. Both objects will lie in the constellation Sagittarius.

They 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 pair 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 pair at the moment of closest approach will be as follows:

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Magnitude Angular Size
The Moon 18h11m10s -20°32' Sagittarius -12.3 29'34"8
Saturn 18h10m40s -22°40' Sagittarius 0.1 17"5

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0. The pair will be at an angular separation of 124° from the Sun, which is in Leo at this time of year.

The sky on 21 August 2018
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

10-day old moon
Waxing Gibbous


10 days old

Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 04:38 11:40 18:41
Venus 09:58 15:34 21:10
Moon 16:45 21:28 01:25
Mars 18:36 22:52 03:12
Jupiter 12:34 17:38 22:42
Saturn 16:21 20:55 01:33
All times shown in EDT.


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.

Related news

27 Jun 2018  –  Saturn at opposition
02 Jan 2019  –  Saturn at solar conjunction
09 Jul 2019  –  Saturn at opposition
13 Jan 2020  –  Saturn at solar conjunction

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