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 39.4 arcminutes of each other.

From Cambridge, the pair will be visible in the dawn sky, rising at 23:25 (EDT) and reaching an altitude of 58° above the south-eastern horizon before fading from view as dawn breaks around 05:00.

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Jupiter will be at mag -2.2; and Saturn will be at mag -0.1. Both objects will lie in the constellation Gemini.

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.

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 06h14m10s +23°00' Gemini -2.2 35"7
Saturn 06h14m10s +22°21' Gemini -0.1 17"7

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0. The pair will be at an angular separation of 68° from the Sun, which is in Leo at this time of year.

The sky on 18 April 2021
Sunrise
05:58
Sunset
19:30
Twilight ends
21:14
Twilight begins
04:14

6-day old moon
Waxing Crescent

32%

6 days old

Planets
Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 06:00 12:39 19:18
Venus 06:16 13:04 19:52
Moon 09:52 17:56 01:01
Mars 08:58 16:41 00:25
Jupiter 03:40 08:53 14:05
Saturn 03:03 07:59 12:55
All times shown in EDT.

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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21 Jan 2239  –  Saturn at perihelion

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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Cambridge

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42.38°N
71.11°W
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