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 3°42' of each other. The Moon will be 14 days old.

From Ashburn , the pair will be visible in the morning sky, becoming accessible around 21:57, when they reach an altitude of 10° above your south-eastern horizon. They will then reach their highest point in the sky at 01:53, 32° above your southern horizon. They will be lost to dawn twilight around 05:28, 13° above your south-western horizon.

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The Moon will be at mag -12.7; and Saturn will be at mag 0.2. Both objects will lie in the constellation Capricornus.

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

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Magnitude Angular Size
The Moon 20h56m20s 21°56'S Capricornus -12.7 32'08"0
Saturn 20h52m40s 18°20'S Capricornus 0.2 18"5

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0. The pair will be at an angular separation of 170° from the Sun, which is in Cancer at this time of year.

The sky on 24 Jul 2021

The sky on 24 July 2021
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

14-day old moon
Waning Gibbous


14 days old

Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 05:16 12:37 19:59
Venus 08:38 15:20 22:02
Moon 20:38 01:25 06:16
Mars 08:06 14:55 21:44
Jupiter 21:49 03:11 08:33
Saturn 20:53 01:53 06:54
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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23 May 2021  –  Saturn enters retrograde motion
02 Aug 2021  –  Saturn at opposition
10 Oct 2021  –  Saturn ends retrograde motion
04 Jun 2022  –  Saturn enters 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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