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The second closest planetary conjunction of 2016 occurs on the morning of January 9th when Venus passes just 5 arc minutes north of Saturn. The time of minimum separation occurs at 03:57 UT when the two planets will be only 1/6 of the apparent diameter of the Moon apart. The brightness difference and closeness of the pair means it's unlikely - but not impossible - they can be split with the naked eye and therefore a pair of binoculars will probably be required.

Both planets will rise above the southeastern (Northern Hemisphere) / eastern (Southern Hemisphere) horizon about two hours before the Sun. At magnitude -4.0, Venus is brilliant and unmistakable with only the Sun and Moon brighter. Saturn (mag. +0.6) is much fainter and 70x less brighter than Venus. For observers, the separation of the planets on the morning of the 9th will depend on location. For those in Europe, Africa, Middle East and western Asia, Venus and Saturn will be very close together just before sunrise. For those at other locations such as USA, Canada, Mexico, South America, China and Australia the planets will be slightly further apart. Regardless of location, this will be a nice visual event for all. Of note, in the same region sky located 6 degrees south of Venus and Saturn is red supergiant Antares (α Sco - mag. +1.0).

Venus and Saturn seen through binoculars on January 9th, 2016 (credit:- Stellarium)

View towards the southeastern horizon one hour before sunrise on January 8th from mid Northern latitudes (credit:- Stellarium)

View towards the southeastern horizon one hour before sunrise on January 9th from mid Northern latitudes (credit:- Stellarium)

View towards the eastern horizon one hour before sunrise on January 8th from mid Southern latitudes (credit:- Stellarium)

View towards the eastern horizon one hour before sunrise on January 9th from mid Southern latitudes (credit:- Stellarium)

See also

The Planets this Month - January 2016