Close approach of the Moon and M44

Sunday 15th Dec 201916:53

The Moon and M44 will make a close approach, passing within 1°17' of each other. The Moon will be 19 days old.

From London, the pair will be visible in the morning sky, becoming accessible at around 20:13, when they rise 7° above your north-eastern horizon. They will then reach its highest point in the sky at 03:06, 58° above your southern horizon. They will be lost to dawn twilight at around 07:34, 29° above your western horizon.

The Moon will be at mag -12.6, and M44 at mag 3.1, both in the constellation Cancer.

The pair will be too widely separated to fit within the field of view of a telescope, but will be visible through a pair of binoculars.

A graph of the angular separation between the Moon and M44 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 08h41m20s +20°56' Cancer -12.6 32'02"1
M44 08h40m20s +19°40' Cancer 3.1 95'00"0

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0. The pair will be at an angular separation of 135° from the Sun, which is in Ophiuchus at this time of year.

This entry in the observing calendar was provided by