Close approach of the Moon and Venus

Thursday 31st Jan 201917:37

The Moon and Venus will make a close approach, passing within 0°05′ of each other. The Moon will be 25 days old.

From London, the pair will be difficult to observe as they will appear no higher than 13° above the horizon. They will be visible in the dawn sky, rising at 04:52 (BST) – 2 hours and 50 minutes before the Sun – and reach an altitude of 13° above the south-eastern horizon before fading from view as dawn breaks at around 07:17.

The Moon will be at mag -10.5, and Venus at mag -4.3, both in the constellation Ophiuchus.

The pair 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 two objects will also share the same right ascension – called a conjunction.

A graph of the angular separation between the Moon and Venus 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 17h43m20s -20°41′ Ophiuchus -10.5 29’53″7
Venus 17h43m20s -20°47′ Ophiuchus -4.3 19″2

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0. The pair will be at an angular separation of 45° from the Sun, which is in Capricornus at this time of year.

This entry in the observing calendar was provided by