Dominic Ford, Editor
From the Conjunctions feed
Jupiter and Mercury will share the same right ascension, with Jupiter passing 0°51' to the south of Mercury.
From Ashburn (click to change), the pair will be difficult to observe as they will appear no higher than 11° above the horizon. They will be visible in the dawn sky, rising at 05:50 (EDT) – 1 hour and 35 minutes before the Sun – and reach an altitude of 11° above the south-eastern horizon before fading from view as dawn breaks at around 07:05.
Jupiter will be at mag -1.8, and Mercury at mag -0.5, both in the constellation Ophiuchus.
The pair will be a little too widely separated to fit comfortably within the field of view of a telescope, but will be visible to the naked eye or through a pair of binoculars.
A graph of the angular separation between Jupiter and Mercury around the time of closest approach is available here.
The positions of the two objects at the moment of conjunction will be as follows:
|Object||Right Ascension||Declination||Constellation||Magnitude||Angular Size|
The coordinates above are given in J2000.0. The pair will be at an angular separation of 20° from the Sun, which is in Sagittarius at this time of year.
|The sky on 21 December 2018|
14 days old
All times shown in EST.
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.
|08 May 2018, 20:28 EDT||– Jupiter at opposition|
|10 Jun 2019, 11:17 EDT||– Jupiter at opposition|
|14 Jul 2020, 03:48 EDT||– Jupiter at opposition|
|19 Aug 2021, 20:18 EDT||– Jupiter at opposition|
The Moon in conjunction with Venus and Jupiter, with the Very Large Telescope in the foreground. Image © Y. Beletsky, ESO, 2009.