02 June 2013

Transitions in the Evening Twilight

Every night, the sky appears a bit different to us, and in June as the long days of summer unfold, the sunset sky changes more rapidly than usual. The trio of planets that dominated dusk are now a pair, as Mercury and Venus climb higher into the west, and the bright stars and constellations of winter rapidly fade from view.

June's evening sky
The bright twin stars Castor and Pollux in the constellation Gemini are dropping gradually into the western sky after sunset, and the later and later onset of darkness combine with the change in position to speed these two stars out of view over the coming days. As they are lower and lower each night, Venus and Mercury will move higher each night and over the next 3 weeks, they will move closer to each other.

As you watch the changing landscape in June, take note of the gradual slowing in the onset of darkness as we approach the summer solstice later this month. The evening sky is a beautiful place to see transitions, and the visiting planets this month provide a fine guideline for this.

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