Conjunction between the Moon and Saturn

2016 Aug 12

Dominic Ford – originally published on

The Moon and Saturn will make a close approach, passing within 3°37' of each other.

From London (click to change), the pair will be difficult to observe as they will appear no higher than 17° above the horizon. They will become visible at around 20:51 (GMT) as the dusk sky fades, 17° above your southern horizon. They will then sink towards the horizon, setting 3 hours and 57 minutes after the Sun at 00:23.

At the moment of closest approach, the Moon will be at mag -12.1, 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 the Moon and Saturn at the moment of closest approach will be as follows:

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Magnitude Angular Size
The Moon 16h34m40s -16°41' Ophiuchus -12.1 29'50"5
Saturn 16h32m30s -20°17' Ophiuchus 1.0 17"2

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0. The pair will be at an angular separation of 109° from the Sun, which is in Leo at this time of year.

The details of this observing event were provided courtesy of