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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°03' of each other. The Moon will be 8 days old.

From Ashburn, the pair will be visible in the evening sky, becoming accessible around 19:32 (EDT) as the dusk sky fades, 28° above your southern horizon. They will then reach its highest point in the sky at 19:34, 28° above your southern horizon. They will continue to be observable until around 23:24, when they sink below 7° above your south-western horizon.

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The Moon will be at mag -11.9; and Saturn will be at mag 0.2. 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 18h10m50s -20°41' Sagittarius -11.9 29'44"0
Saturn 18h10m20s -22°44' Sagittarius 0.2 16"8

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0. The pair will be at an angular separation of 98° from the Sun, which is in Virgo at this time of year.

The sky on 17 September 2018
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

8-day old moon
Waxing Gibbous


8 days old

Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 06:37 12:56 19:15
Venus 10:27 15:28 20:29
Moon 14:58 19:49 00:41
Mars 17:05 21:42 02:21
Jupiter 11:26 16:33 21:39
Saturn 14:50 19:34 00:21
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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