Skywatchers, set your alarm clocks.
Early tomorrow morning (that is, after midnight tonight), the moon and Saturn will make a close approach in the night sky, an event known as an appulse.
Of course, the moon and Saturn won’t physically be very close to one another, as Saturn is anywhere from 746 million miles (1.2 billion km) to a billion miles (1.7 billion km) away from Earth, depending upon where the planets are in their orbits. But from our vantage point, they’ll appear very close together in the night sky.
The exact time of the appulse will be at 2:12 am EDT (0612 GMT), according to skywatching site In-the-Sky.org, though the moon and Saturn will be below the horizon at that time. Around that same time, they’ll also reach conjunction, which is when they share the same right ascension, the celestial equivalent of longitude. The duo will become visible at 4:20 a.m. in New York City, rising in the early morning sky, and they’ll remain highly visible until the sun comes up at 6:14 a.m. EDT (1014 GMT), after which they’ll largely be washed out by its light. They’ll eventually set at 3:06 p.m. (1906 GMT).
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To see the moon and Saturn, which will be separated by three degrees and 11 minutes — roughly one-third the size of your fist held out at arm’s length — look towards the constellation Aquarius in the night sky. They won’t be close together enough to see within the field of view of a telescope, but they will be able to be seen within the field of view of binoculars.
At the time of appulse and conjunction, the moon will be in a waning crescent phase, appearing as just a slight C-shaped sliver, which might make for some very interesting photography.
To get a close look at the moon and Saturn, take a look at our guides to the best telescopes and best binoculars. And if you’re looking to photograph the night sky, check out our guide on how to photograph the moon, as well as our best cameras for astrophotography and best lenses for astrophotography.
Editor’s Note: If you take an image of the moon and Saturn close together and would like to share it with Space.com’s readers, send your photo(s), comments, and your name and location to [email protected].