THE SKY THIS MONTH: Jupiter’s disappearing act
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May 30, 2014  |  Vote 0    0

THE SKY THIS MONTH: Jupiter’s disappearing act

Hamilton Mountain News

Jupiter is about to perform a disappearing act.

If you hurry, you can still see the planet dipping lower towards the northwest evening horizon every night this month. By early July, the gas giant disappears from sight; it reappears in mid-August low in the eastern sky.

Appearing high up in the evening sky this month is the Big Dipper. The constellation is a good starting point to help you navigate the night sky. From its handle, draw and an imaginary arc over to bright orange star Arcturus in the constellation Bootes.

Arcturus is a red giant and it’s huge — about 26 times larger than our sun or 2,800 times larger than Earth. From Arcturus, draw another imaginary line and spike down to bright star Spica in the constellation Virgo.

Here are June stargazer events. Most are listed in the Hamilton Amateur Astronomers calendar.

Planet watching

Mercury is in the western evening sky, but becomes dimmer after the first week of the month. Venus is low in the northeast morning twilight sky and passes between the Pleiades and the Hyades during the last week of the month. Mars has a rust colour seen in the southwest evening sky and dims as it recedes from Earth. Bright Saturn can be seen low in the southern evening sky.

June 7: The Moon is close and below Mars in the evening sky. There is also a Public Stargazing Night the same night at Niagara Gateway Tourism Centre, 424 South Service Rd, Grimsby, 9 p.m. – 11 p.m.

June 8: The moon is close to star Spica in the evening sky.

June 10: The moon is close and below Saturn in the evening sky.

June 13: Hamilton Amateur Astronomers meeting 7:30-9:30 p.m., Hamilton Spectator, 44 Frid St. Free admission with door prizes and everyone is welcome. An optional food bank donation of non-perishable goods will be collected. Speaker will be Dr. Michael Spicer, who will discuss Sir William Herschel, a model for amateur astronomy.

June 21: Summer officially begins with the solstice at 6:51 a.m.

June 24: The crescent moon is close to Venus low in the northeast morning sky.

For more information, please see the Hamilton Amateur Astronomers website at or call 905-627-4323. The club offers a basic astronomy course for members. Mario Carr, the author of this report, is the club’s director of publicity and can be reached at

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