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

Close approach of Saturn and Mars

Dominic Ford, Editor
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The sky at

The planets Saturn and Mars will make a close approach, passing within a mere 54.3 arcminutes of each other.

From Ashburn, the pair will be visible in the dawn sky, rising at 03:50 (EST) – 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 around 06:25.

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Saturn will be at mag 0.4; and Mars will be at mag 0.8. Both objects will lie in the constellation Capricornus.

They 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.

At around the same time, the pair will also share the same right ascension – called a conjunction.

A graph of the angular separation between Saturn and Mars 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
Saturn 20h10m20s -20°07' Capricornus 0.4 16"1
Mars 20h11m00s -21°00' Capricornus 0.8 6"4

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0. The pair will be at an angular separation of 70° from the Sun, which is in Pisces at this time of year.

The sky on 31 March 2020
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

7-day old moon
Waxing Crescent


7 days old

Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 06:04 11:40 17:17
Venus 08:46 16:09 23:33
Moon 11:19 18:59 02:38
Mars 03:55 08:45 13:36
Jupiter 03:30 08:19 13:09
Saturn 03:50 08:44 13:38
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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