Close approach of the Moon and Saturn

Wednesday 22nd May 201921:18

The Moon and Saturn will make a close approach, passing within 0°31′ of each other. The Moon will be 18 days old.

From London, the pair will be difficult to observe as they will appear no higher than 16° above the horizon. They will be visible in the morning sky, becoming accessible at around 01:38, when they rise 7° above your south-eastern horizon. They will then reach its highest point in the sky at 04:28, 16° above your southern horizon. They will be lost to dawn twilight at around 04:33, 16° above your southern horizon.

The Moon will be at mag -12.4, and Saturn at mag 0.2, both in the constellation Sagittarius.

The pair 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 two objects 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 two objects at the moment of closest approach will be as follows:

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Magnitude Angular Size
The Moon 19h25m40s -22°07′ Sagittarius -12.4 30’07″9
Saturn 19h25m30s -21°36′ Sagittarius 0.2 17″7

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0. The pair will be at an angular separation of 131° from the Sun, which is in Taurus at this time of year.

This entry in the observing calendar was provided by