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 Jupiter

Dominic Ford, Editor
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The sky at

The Moon and Jupiter will make a close approach, passing within a mere 21.5 arcminutes of each other. From some parts of the world, the Moon will pass in front of Jupiter, creating a lunar occultation. The Moon will be 28 days old.

From San Diego , the pair will be difficult to observe as they will appear no higher than 9° above the horizon. They will be visible in the dawn sky, rising at 05:31 (PDT) – 1 hour and 16 minutes before the Sun – and reaching an altitude of 9° above the south-eastern horizon before fading from view as dawn breaks at around 06:30.

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The Moon will be at mag -9.0; and Jupiter will be at mag -1.9. Both objects will lie in the constellation Sagittarius.

They will be close enough to fit within the field of view of a telescope, but will also 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 Jupiter 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 18h49m40s 23°14'S Sagittarius -9.0 30'40"5
Jupiter 18h49m40s 22°53'S Sagittarius -1.9 31"4

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0. The pair will be at an angular separation of 20° from the Sun, which is in Capricornus at this time of year.

The sky on 22 Jan 2020

The sky on 22 January 2020
Sunrise
06:47
Sunset
17:11
Twilight ends
18:37
Twilight begins
05:21

27-day old moon
Waning Crescent

1%

27 days old

Planets
Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 07:24 12:34 17:44
Venus 08:52 14:32 20:12
Moon 05:03 10:11 15:19
Mars 03:26 08:28 13:30
Jupiter 05:31 10:31 15:31
Saturn 06:19 11:24 16:29
All times shown in PST.

Source

The circumstances of this event were computed using the DE430 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

11 Aug 2019  –  Jupiter ends retrograde motion
14 May 2020  –  Jupiter enters retrograde motion
14 Jul 2020  –  Jupiter at opposition
12 Sep 2020  –  Jupiter ends retrograde motion

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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