Close approach of Venus and Saturn

Wednesday 11th Dec 201909:26

Venus and Saturn will make a close approach, passing within 1°47' of each other.

From London, the pair will be difficult to observe as they will appear no higher than 11° above the horizon. They will become visible at around 16:14 (BST) as the dusk sky fades, 11° above your south-western horizon. They will then sink towards the horizon, setting 2 hours and 17 minutes after the Sun at 18:04.

Venus will be at mag -4.0, and Saturn at mag 0.5, both in the constellation Sagittarius.

The pair will be too widely separated to fit 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 Venus 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
Venus 19h22m20s -23°49' Sagittarius -4.0 12"0
Saturn 19h21m20s -22°02' Sagittarius 0.5 15"2

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0. The pair will be at an angular separation of 30° from the Sun, which is in Ophiuchus at this time of year.

This entry in the observing calendar was provided by