Moon in Conjunction With Planets 2021

~9 min
Moon in Conjunction With Planets 2021

From this article, you’ll learn what planets passed near the Moon in our sky in the second half of 2021. For this year’s conjunctions, read our other monthly-updated article.

Contents

December conjunctions

December 3: Moon-Mars conjunction

On December 3, 2021, at 00:27 GMT (December 2, 7:27 p.m. EST), the Moon will pass very close to Mars in the sky; both objects will be located in the constellation Libra. The angular distance between the two celestial bodies will be 0°41' — that’s only a little more than the Moon’s angular diameter!

Unfortunately, our natural satellite will be nearing its new phase: this means it will occupy the same region of the sky as the Sun, so it will be impossible to see the Moon at night. Consequently, Mars will also stay below the horizon all night — the only time you can observe the 1.6 magnitude Red Planet is just before sunrise. As Mars will be positioned close to the Sun, better not use a telescope for its observation to avoid eye injury.

December 7: Moon-Venus conjunction

On December 7, at 00:49 GMT (December 6, 7:49 p.m. EST), the thin crescent of the Moon will meet Venus in the sky. Our natural satellite will pass 1°52' to the south of the planet. The Moon, glowing with earthshine, will have a magnitude of -10.4, while Venus will be shining with a magnitude of -4.7. Look for this spectacular duo in the constellation Sagittarius.

At the beginning of December, Venus reaches its greatest brightness, so it’s the best time to observe the planet. If you have binoculars, try viewing Venus through them: the planet will look as a tiny thin crescent.

December 8: Moon-Saturn conjunction

On December 8, 2021, at 01:49 GMT (December 7, 8:49 p.m. EST), the conjunction of the waxing Moon and the ringed planet Saturn will occur. Our natural satellite will pass 4°11' to the south of the gas giant. The Moon will be at a magnitude of -11.0, and Saturn — at a magnitude of 0.5. Both celestial bodies will be positioned in the constellation Capricornus.

December 9: Moon-Jupiter conjunction

On December 9, 2021, at 06:10 GMT (1:10 a.m. EST), the Moon will get close to another gas giant, Jupiter, passing 4°28' to the planet’s south. The Moon will be shining at a magnitude of -11.5, and Jupiter will have a magnitude of -2.3. Look for the two objects in the constellation Capricornus.

The Moon’s conjunctions with Venus, Saturn, and Jupiter will be especially spectacular because of the perfect planetary alignment: throughout December, the three planets will be lined up in a beautiful straight row along the ecliptic.

December 31: Moon-Mars conjunction

The month will end as it began — with the conjunction of the Moon and Mars. On December 31, 2021, at 20:13 GMT (3:13 p.m. EST), our natural satellite will pass 0°56' to the south of the Red Planet; both celestial bodies will be located in the constellation Ophiuchus. Again, the Moon will be nearing its new phase, so both objects will be unobservable all night. You can try to spot 1.5 magnitude Mars sitting low above the horizon just before sunrise.

Note that observing conjunctions doesn't require any special equipment — such events are easily visible to the naked eye. Also, don't get disappointed if you miss the exact moment of conjunction; even the night after the conjunction, the two objects you’d like to see will still be positioned quite close to each other.

November conjunctions

November 3: Moon-Mercury conjunction

On November 3, 2021, at 18:39 GMT (2:39 p.m. EST), the Moon will pass very close to Mercury in our sky. The space objects will be placed at an apparent separation of 1°13' — look for them in the constellation Virgo.

The lunar disk will look very thin, only 3%-illuminated, as the Moon is moving towards its new phase. Better observe their close approach on November 2 and 3, because on November 4 the Moon will reach the new phase and won’t be visible in the sky. By the way, Mercury is currently shining bright in the morning sky with a magnitude of -0.8 because it reached greatest elongation just a week ago.

November 8: Moon-Venus conjunction

On November 8, 2021, at 05:20 GMT (00:20 a.m. EST), the conjunction of the 18%-illuminated Moon and bright Venus will occur. Our natural satellite will be passing 1°06' to the north of -4.5 magnitude Venus across the constellation Sagittarius. Venus is now sitting low above the horizon and appearing brighter and higher every night as it shifts closer to the Earth. So try to spot the duo near the horizon on the evenings of November 7 and 8.

November 10: Moon-Saturn conjunction

On November 10, 2021, at 14:24 GMT (09:24 a.m. EST), the Moon will pass 4°06' to the south of Saturn. Observe the 39%-illuminated lunar disk near the 0.4 magnitude Saturn in the constellation Capricornus. Saturn now is the faintest among the naked-eye visible planets in the sky but is observable with the condition of clear skies.

November 11: Moon-Jupiter conjunction

On November 11, 2021, at 17:16 GMT (12:15 p.m. EST), the Moon will be visible only 4°21' to the south of Jupiter. To spot them, look southward if you live in the Northern Hemisphere or overhead if you’re from the Southern Hemisphere. Or you can simply find the constellation Capricornus — the Moon and Jupiter will shine there with the visual magnitude of -12.0 and -2.4, respectively.

We advise you to look up at the sky from November 8 to 12 and get the most out of these conjunctions. You can use a pair of binoculars or just observe with your naked eye — both are good options.

October conjunctions

October 9: Moon-Venus conjunction

On October 9, 2021, at 18:35 GMT (2:35 p.m. EDT), the conjunction of the 3-days-old Moon and brilliant Venus will occur. This is going to be a wonderful scene — the 9% illuminated thin lunar disk full with Earthshine will be passing 2°51' to the north of -4.2 magnitude Venus. You'll find both objects in the constellation Scorpius. If you use a pair of binoculars for observations, you’ll discern details on the Moon’s not illuminated part.

Don’t worry if you miss the exact moment of conjunction — observers from both hemispheres most likely will see a close approach of our natural satellite and the brilliant planet. Those from the Southern Hemisphere will have better observation conditions since Venus lies higher in their skies. For the Northern latitudes, the planet stays relatively low above the horizon in the sunset direction.

October 14: Moon-Saturn conjunction

On October 14, 2021, at 07:08 GMT (03:08 a.m. EDT), the 60% illuminated Moon will pass 3°56' to the south of the gas giant Saturn. Less bright than Venus, Saturn is still visible with a naked eye, shining at a magnitude of 0.3; spot the planet near the Moon in the constellation Capricornus.

Saturn and Jupiter appeared extremely close to each other in December 2020 — this event was even called a “great conjunction.” Since then, Jupiter has been moving away from Saturn, but for now, they appear close in the sky. So whenever the Saturn-Moon conjunction occurs, the Moon-Jupiter one will not be long in coming.

October 15: Moon-Jupiter conjunction

Just a day later, on October 15, 2021, at 10:02 GMT (06:02 a.m. EDT), the Moon will pass close to another gas giant — Jupiter. With a magnitude of -2.8, the planet appears very bright, brighter than all the stars. The duo will also be placed in the constellation Capricornus, at the apparent separation of 3°57'. As the Moon will be near the gas giants for several days, start your observations in advance and look for the planets near our bright natural satellite on the nights of October 13 to 15.

September conjunctions

September 8: Moon-Mercury conjunction

On September 8, 2021, at 20:18 GMT (4:18 p.m. EDT), the Moon and Mercury will meet in the constellation Virgo. This will be a relatively distant conjunction since the separation between the celestial objects will be 6°31'. For this reason, you should observe the Moon-Mercury conjunction with the naked eye. Don’t use a telescope or binoculars for the observation — a usual field of view of amateur telescopes is from 1° to about 5° (here is how to calculate your telescope’s field of view.

On September 8, the Moon will be 1-day old, so only 3% of the lunar disk will be visible. Shining at a magnitude of 0.0, Mercury will be a difficult target for those who live in the Northern Hemisphere — the sunset glow will hide the smallest planet from our view. Observers from the Southern Hemisphere, don’t miss your chance! For you, the planet will be in its best evening apparition of this year throughout this September. Read more about Mercury in the night sky in our previous article.

September 10: Moon-Venus conjunction

On September 10, 2021, at 02:08 GMT (September 9, 10:08 p.m. EDT), the 15% illuminated Moon will pass 4°04' to the north of dazzling Venus. The beautiful planet is one of the easiest objects to find in the night sky; on the day of conjunction, it will shine at a magnitude of -4.1 in the constellation Virgo together with the Moon.

September 17: Moon-Saturn conjunction

The next conjunction will occur on September 17, 2021, at 02:33 GMT (September 16, 10:33 p.m. EDT). Our bright natural satellite will pass 3°45' to the south of Saturn — both celestial objects will be placed in the constellation Capricornus. The gas giant will be the faintest of the planets visible in the night sky, with a magnitude of only 0.2. Despite this, a keen eye should notice the ringed planet near the 87% illuminated Moon.

September 18: Moon-Jupiter conjunction

If for some reason, you missed the spectacular conjunction of the Moon and Jupiter in August, this is your second chance! On September 18, 2021, at 06:54 GMT (2:54 a.m. EDT), the almost Full (94% illuminated) Moon and bright Jupiter will meet again in our skies. Since August, Jupiter has slightly lost its brightness but remains the second-brightest planet after Venus — the gas planet shines at a magnitude of -2.8.

The bright duo is a perfect observation target due to their position in the sky. Jupiter climbs high into the sky as the darkness falls and remains visible together with the Moon until around 3 a.m. local time. Look for them in the constellation Capricornus and remember to check the weather in advance to make sure that the clouds won’t interfere with your observations.

August conjunctions

August 10: Moon-Mars conjunction

On August 10, 2021, at 00:42 GMT (or August 9, at 8:42 p.m. EDT), the Moon will pass 4°17' to the north of Mars. At the night of conjunction, the thin, only 4% illuminated Moon will shine at a magnitude of -8.7; the reddish Mars will be at a magnitude of -2.9. Both sky objects will be placed in the constellation Leo. The Moon and Mars will be too widely separated, so don’t use a telescope for observation — try a pair of binoculars or naked eyes instead.

By the way, it might be your last chance to observe the Red Planet this year! The planet is already quite faint and keeps fading in the Sun’s glare, moving towards its solar conjunction that will take place on October 8, 2021.

August 11: Moon-Venus conjunction

Only a day later, on August 11, 2021, at 06:59 GMT (02:59 a.m. EDT), the conjunction of the Moon and Venus will occur — the Moon will pass 4°17' to the north of Venus. Our natural satellite gains brightness rapidly, and on the day of the close approach to Venus, the Moon will be shining at a magnitude of -10.0. Venus, in its turn, is the most prominent planet in the sky and will have a magnitude of -4.0. Look for them in the constellation Virgo.

August 20: Moon-Saturn conjunction

The next conjunction will take place on August 20, 2021, at 22:15 GMT (6:15 p.m. EDT). This time the 95% illuminated Moon will meet with Saturn in the constellation Capricornus, lying 3°42' to the planet’s south. The celestial bodies will shine at magnitudes of -12.6 and 0.2, respectively.

Saturn just recently reached an opposition, which means that the planet is at its brightest of the year now. The planet is almost opposite the Sun in the Earth’s sky and is visible most of the night. Saturn isn’t as noticeable to the unaided eye as the next planet on our list, Jupiter; however, when observed through a telescope, Saturn provides a truly stunning view.

August 22: Moon-Jupiter conjunction

On August 22, 2021, at 04:56 GMT (12:56 a.m. EDT), you’ll have a chance to spot bright Jupiter near the Full Blue Moon in the constellation Capricornus; our natural satellite will pass 3°57' to the south of the gas giant.

Jupiter will also reach an opposition on August 20, 2021, shining at its brightest. It will be much more luminous than Saturn, shining at a magnitude of -2.9. Even the 100% illuminated Moon won’t outshine its glare.

Wishing you clear skies and happy observations!

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