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 M45

Dominic Ford, Editor
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The sky at

The Moon and M45 will make a close approach, passing within a mere 45.5 arcminutes of each other. The Moon will be 9 days old.

From Fairfield , the pair will be visible in the evening sky, becoming accessible around 17:38 (EST), 59° above your south-eastern horizon, as dusk fades to darkness. They will then reach their highest point in the sky at 19:40, 72° above your southern horizon. They will continue to be observable until around 01:57, when they sink below 12° above your western horizon.

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

The Moon will be at mag -12.4; and M45 will be at mag 1.3. Both objects will lie in the constellation Taurus.

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.

A graph of the angular separation between the Moon and M45 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 03h48m20s 23°22'N Taurus -12.4 31'03"1
M45 03h47m30s 24°06'N Taurus 1.3 0"0

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0. The pair will be at an angular separation of 120° from the Sun, which is in Capricornus at this time of year.

The sky on 20 Jan 2024

The sky on 20 January 2024
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

9-day old moon
Waxing Gibbous


9 days old

Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 05:50 10:27 15:04
Venus 04:59 09:39 14:19
Moon 12:17 20:05 04:03
Mars 06:12 10:46 15:19
Jupiter 11:22 18:09 00:57
Saturn 09:00 14:23 19:46
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.

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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