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°36' of each other. The Moon will be 12 days old.

From Ashburn, the pair will be visible in the evening sky, becoming accessible around 20:15 (EDT) as the dusk sky fades, 12° above your south-eastern horizon. They will then reach its highest point in the sky at 23:55, 32° above your southern horizon. They will continue to be observable until around 04:08, when they sink below 8° above your south-western horizon.

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The Moon will be at mag -12.6, and Saturn at mag 0.2, both in the constellation Capricornus.

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

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Magnitude Angular Size
The Moon 20h48m00s -22°25' Capricornus -12.6 31'55"7
Saturn 20h44m40s -18°54' Capricornus 0.2 18"4

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0. The pair will be at an angular separation of 160° from the Sun, which is in Leo at this time of year.

The sky on 20 August 2021
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

12-day old moon
Waxing Gibbous


12 days old

Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 07:55 14:19 20:43
Venus 09:34 15:32 21:30
Moon 19:22 00:09 03:47
Mars 07:46 14:13 20:40
Jupiter 19:51 01:13 06:30
Saturn 18:57 23:55 04:58
All times shown in EDT.


The circumstances of this event were computed using the DE405 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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