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Jupiter and Saturn Meet in the Western Sky

 

Perhaps you've noticed those "two bright stars" shining in the western sky after dusk. Saturn is the brighter of the two and the brightest object in the night sky, excluding the moon. Jupiter is the other bright object. If you watch from night to night you will see Venus and Jupiter approach each other, meet, and then change positions.

Beginning Tuesday, May 28 until Saturday, June 1st, Venus and Jupiter will be side by side. On Sunday, June 2, Venus passes Jupiter. Directly above the two planets shine the 2 brightest stars of Gemini, Pollux and Castor.

On Monday, June 3, Venus and Jupiter look spectacular as they engage in an eye-catching union in the western sky at dusk. Venus is 1.7 degrees north of Jupiter. To the casual stargazer this means that Venus and Jupiter are separated by less than the width of a finger held at arm's length.

Venus and Jupiter continue to appear remarkably close from June 4-8, but the gap between them widens daily. As the month of June progresses, Venus gets higher in the evening sky while Jupiter sinks lower. Mars closes in on the giant planet of Jupiter throughout the month. Mars is very low in the west and getting harder to find. The red planet will be below and to the left of Jupiter about 40 minutes after sunset. By late June, Jupiter will be disappearing into the glow of sunset.

On Wednesday, June 12, the crescent moon sits next to Jupiter. The following evening, the moon will be hanging just above Venus. The five-planet spring dance has all but come to a close by the end of June. Venus remains as the evening star shining brightly over Waynedale for the remainder of summer 2002.

Happy Stargazing!


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