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 a mere 16.3 arcminutes of each other. The Moon will be 7 days old.

From Fairfield, the pair will be visible in the evening sky, becoming accessible around 16:42 (EDT), 38° above your southern horizon, as dusk fades to darkness. They will then reach their highest point in the sky at 17:41, 40° above your southern horizon. They will continue to be observable until around 22:27, when they sink below 7° above your western horizon.

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The Moon will be at mag -11.9; and Saturn will be at mag 0.8. Both objects will lie in the constellation Aquarius.

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 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 22h59m10s -08°23' Aquarius -11.9 32'00"2
Saturn 22h59m40s -08°38' Aquarius 0.8 17"2

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0. The pair will be at an angular separation of 86° from the Sun, which is in Ophiuchus at this time of year.

The sky on 08 December 2024
Sunrise
07:06
Sunset
16:26
Twilight ends
18:02
Twilight begins
05:26

7-day old moon
Waxing Gibbous

52%

7 days old

Planets
Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 06:31 11:20 16:10
Venus 10:19 14:59 19:39
Moon 12:19 18:13 00:12
Mars 19:57 03:21 10:46
Jupiter 16:13 23:39 07:05
Saturn 12:09 17:41 23:14
All times shown in EST.

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.

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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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