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, Jupiter and Mars

Dominic Ford, Editor
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The sky at

The Moon, Jupiter and Mars will make a close approach, passing within 1°30' of each other. The Moon will be 24 days old.

From Ashburn , the trio will be visible in the dawn sky, rising at 04:11 (EDT) – 3 hours and 3 minutes before the Sun – and reaching an altitude of 22° above the south-eastern horizon before fading from view as dawn breaks at around 06:57.

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The Moon will be at mag -11.3; Jupiter will be at mag -2.1; and Mars will be at mag 0.9. The trio 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 trio 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 trio at the moment of closest approach will be as follows:

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Magnitude Angular Size
The Moon 19h36m30s 23°08'S Sagittarius -11.3 30'22"4
Jupiter 19h36m00s 21°38'S Sagittarius -2.1 34"8
Mars 19h31m30s 22°29'S Sagittarius 0.9 5"9

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0. The trio will be at an angular separation of 65° from the Sun, which is in Pisces at this time of year.

The sky on 18 Mar 2020

The sky on 18 March 2020
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

24-day old moon
Waning Crescent


24 days old

Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 06:11 11:36 17:02
Venus 08:59 16:06 23:12
Moon 04:17 09:05 13:56
Mars 04:11 08:56 13:41
Jupiter 04:11 08:59 13:48
Saturn 04:36 09:30 14:23
All times shown in EDT.


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.

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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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