British Astronomical Association
Supporting amateur astronomers since 1890

Secondary menu

Main menu

BAA Articles

Observer’s Challenge - Conjunction of Venus and Saturn

This months Observers' Challenge is the conjunction of Venus and Saturn that will occur on December 11th.

This will be a challenging target for three main reasons:

1. It will be visible for just a short time after sunset.
2. The pair will be very low in Sagittarius in the South-West. From Greenwich at 5pm Venus' altitude will be a mere 5.66 degrees, and will have set by 5:45 pm. You will need a good horizon.
3. There is a big disparity in the brightness of the two planets. Venus will be shining at around magnitude -3.9 (extincted to -2.69), and Saturn will be 0.58 (extincted to 1.59)

For the visual observer the brightness difference will not be too much of a hindrance, though Saturn may be easier to spot with binoculars against the twilight sky.

Photographers will find this rather more challenging though if using a single exposure. To make a nice photo try finding a location with some pictorial content in the foreground.

Please do submit any observations to your BAA Member Page and to the Mercury and Venus Section and Saturn Section.

Like This Article