The planets Jupiter and Mercury will make a close approach, passing within a mere 19.5 arcminutes of each other.
From Ashburn, the pair will be difficult to observe as they will appear no higher than 8° above the horizon. They will be visible in the dawn sky, rising at 05:26 (EST) – 1 hour and 8 minutes before the Sun – and reaching an altitude of 8° above the south-eastern horizon before fading from view as dawn breaks around 06:18.
Jupiter will be at mag -2.0; and Mercury will be at mag 0.1. Both objects will lie in the constellation Capricornus.
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.
A graph of the angular separation between Jupiter and Mercury 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 coordinates above are given in J2000.0. The pair will be at an angular separation of 27° from the Sun, which is in Aquarius at this time of year.
|The sky on 05 March 2021|
22 days old
All times shown in EST.
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.
|14 Jul 2020||– Jupiter at opposition|
|19 Aug 2021||– Jupiter at opposition|
|26 Sep 2022||– Jupiter at opposition|
|03 Nov 2023||– Jupiter at opposition|
The Moon in conjunction with Venus and Jupiter, with the Very Large Telescope in the foreground. Image © Y. Beletsky, ESO, 2009.