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

Close approach of Jupiter and Mercury

Dominic Ford, Editor
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The sky at

The planets Jupiter and Mercury will make a close approach, passing within a mere 19.5 arcminutes of each other.

From San Diego however, the pair will not be observable – they will reach their highest point in the sky during daytime and will be no higher than 8° above the horizon at dawn.

Begin typing the name of a town near to you, and then select the town from the list of options which appear below.

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.

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

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
Jupiter 21h19m30s 16°12'S Capricornus -2.0 32"4
Mercury 21h19m30s 15°53'S Capricornus 0.1 7"2

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 4 Mar 2021

The sky on 4 March 2021
Sunrise
06:10
Sunset
17:48
Twilight ends
19:10
Twilight begins
04:48

21-day old moon
Waning Gibbous

53%

21 days old

Planets
Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 04:55 10:15 15:36
Venus 06:03 11:41 17:19
Moon 22:54 04:25 09:49
Mars 09:45 16:47 23:48
Jupiter 04:57 10:16 15:36
Saturn 04:29 09:42 14:55
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

12 Sep 2020  –  Jupiter ends retrograde motion
20 Jun 2021  –  Jupiter enters retrograde motion
19 Aug 2021  –  Jupiter at opposition
17 Oct 2021  –  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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