Conjunction between Mars and Saturn

2016 Aug 24

Dominic Ford – originally published on

Mars and Saturn will make a close approach, passing within 4°21' of each other.

From London (click to change), the pair will be difficult to observe as they will appear no higher than 16° above the horizon. They will become visible at around 20:27 (GMT) as the dusk sky fades, 16° above your southern horizon. They will then sink towards the horizon, setting 3 hours and 30 minutes after the Sun at 23:32.

At the moment of closest approach, Mars will be at mag -0.9, and Saturn at mag 1.0, both in the constellation Ophiuchus.

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.

The precise positions of Mars and Saturn at the moment of closest approach will be as follows:

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Magnitude Angular Size
Mars 16h30m30s -24°39' Ophiuchus -0.9 10"9
Saturn 16h32m50s -20°20' Ophiuchus 1.0 16"8

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0. The pair will be at an angular separation of 98° from the Sun, which is in Leo at this time of year.

The details of this observing event were provided courtesy of