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 Saturn

Dominic Ford, Editor
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The sky at

The planets Jupiter and Saturn will make a close approach, passing within a mere 6.0 arcminutes of each other.

From Fairfield, the pair will be visible in the dawn sky, rising at 05:20 (EST) – 1 hour and 48 minutes before the Sun – and reaching an altitude of 13° above the south-eastern horizon before fading from view as dawn breaks around 06:49.

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Jupiter will be at mag -2.0; and Saturn will be at mag 0.6. 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 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
Jupiter 20h53m20s -17°57' Capricornus -2.0 33"3
Saturn 20h53m20s -18°03' Capricornus 0.6 15"5

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0. The pair will be at an angular separation of 43° from the Sun, which is in Pisces at this time of year.

The sky on 19 January 2021
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

6-day old moon
Waxing Crescent


6 days old

Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 08:14 13:17 18:20
Venus 06:19 10:55 15:32
Moon 11:00 17:14 23:28
Mars 11:13 18:09 01:06
Jupiter 07:41 12:34 17:27
Saturn 07:30 12:20 17:10
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.

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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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