The moon meets Saturn on Sunday (March 19) with the two celestial bodies sharing the same right ascension, an arrangement called conjunction.
The thin sliver of the moon, which will be in its waning crescent phase, will pass south of Saturn of 3°35′ according to In the sky. (opens in a new tab) The moon and the gas giant, which is the second largest planet in the solar system, will be in the constellation of Aquarius during conjunction.
The moon will have a magnitude of -9.8, with the minus prefix indicating a particularly bright object in the sky, while Saturn will have a magnitude of 0.8. The best time to see the conjunction will be around 6:30 a.m. local time, and skywatchers will need a clear horizon and clear skies to distinguish the pair at morning twilight. Just be careful to move your optics away from the horizon before the sun comes up!
Related: Night sky, March 2023: what you can see tonight [maps]
During conjunction, the Moon and Saturn will still be too far apart to be seen together with a telescope. Skywatchers could spot the conjunction with binoculars.
According In the sky (opens in a new tab), the conjunction will be visible from New York around 6:02 a.m. EDT (10:02 GMT), just after the Moon and Saturn have risen on the horizon. The conjunction will remain visible until approximately 4:42 p.m. EDT (2042 GMT) when the moon sets. This means that skywatchers aiming to see the conjunction must take the precautions associated with daytime astronomy, in particular not looking directly at the sun, either through optics or with the naked eye.
While the moon dominates Saturn in the night sky in terms of size, with an angular size of 32’55″7 compared to Saturn’s angular size of 15″5 at conjunction, the situation could hardly be more different in reality solar system.
Saturn is so large, with a diameter of more than 72,000 miles (116,000 km), that NASA says it would take nine Earths for the ring at the gas giant’s equator. This means that if the Earth were as big as a nickel, Saturn would be the size of a volleyball. The moon’s diameter, meanwhile, is just 2,159 miles (3,475 kilometers), making it a quarter the size of Earth. This means it would take 36 moons to ring Saturn.
Of course, Saturn is no stranger to moons, as it has at least 83 of his own! On top of that, the gas giant still has 20 moons awaiting confirmation. The largest of Saturn’s moons is the giant moon Titanbigger than the planet Mercury. The largest of at least 150 known moons in the solar system, Titan eclipses Earth’s moon with a diameter of about 3,200 miles (5,150 kilometers).
This measurement may seem a bit controversial considering Jupiter’s moon Ganymede is actually about 3,270 miles (5,270 kilometers) in diameter. Titan beats Ganymede as the largest moon because this measurement only takes into account its solid body and does not include its atmosphere which spans hundreds of miles!
If you’re hoping to catch a glimpse of the moon or Saturn during conjunction, our guide to the best telescopes will help. If you want to catch both celestial objects together, our guide to best binoculars is an excellent starting point.
If you’re looking to take photos of the night sky in general, check out our guide to How to photograph the moonas well as our best cameras for astrophotography And best lenses for astrophotography.
Editor’s note: If you photograph Saturn or the Moon and would like to share your photos with Space.com readers, send your photos, comments, name and location to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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