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 Saturn

Dominic Ford, Editor
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The sky at

The Moon and Saturn will make a close approach, passing within 1°44' of each other. The Moon will be 27 days old.

From Fairfield, 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 05:02 (EDT) – 1 hour and 39 minutes before the Sun – and reaching an altitude of 11° above the south-eastern horizon before fading from view as dawn breaks around 06:22.

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The Moon will be at mag -10.0, and Saturn at mag 0.5, both in the constellation Sagittarius.

The pair 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 two objects 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 two objects at the moment of closest approach will be as follows:

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Magnitude Angular Size
The Moon 19h56m40s -22°30' Sagittarius -10.0 30'12"2
Saturn 19h55m50s -20°46' Sagittarius 0.5 15"3

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0. The pair will be at an angular separation of 34° from the Sun, which is in Aquarius at this time of year.

The sky on 20 February 2020
Sunrise
06:40
Sunset
17:30
Twilight ends
19:02
Twilight begins
05:08

27-day old moon
Waning Crescent

8%

27 days old

Planets
Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 06:51 12:39 18:27
Venus 08:21 14:46 21:10
Moon 05:13 09:51 14:29
Mars 03:30 08:04 12:37
Jupiter 04:29 09:08 13:48
Saturn 05:02 09:48 14:34
All times shown in EST.

Source

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

09 Jul 2019  –  Saturn at opposition
20 Jul 2020  –  Saturn at opposition
02 Aug 2021  –  Saturn at opposition
14 Aug 2022  –  Saturn at opposition

Image credit

The Moon in conjunction with Venus and Jupiter, with the Very Large Telescope in the foreground. Image © Y. Beletsky, ESO, 2009.

Fairfield

Latitude:
Longitude:
Timezone:

41.14°N
73.26°W
EDT

Color scheme