McMaster’s William J. McCallion Planetarium

Image of Saturn

Image of Saturn (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Mario Carr

When the William J. McCallion Planetarium opened at Hamilton’s McMaster University in 1949, an army surplus parachute was used as its dome.

It was the first planetarium in Ontario that had public shows. Since it opened about 100,000 people have visited it. When I was a student at Mac during the 80s’, the doors were locked because the projector was broken. In 2008, it was refurbished and reopened with a new state of the art digital projector and seating for 35 plus space for a wheelchair.

Now, the planetarium has public shows every Wednesday night at 7 p.m. Tickets are $5. On the first Wednesday of every month, there is an Introductory Astronomy for Kids show. The planetarium can also be rented during the day or evenings to school groups, guides, cubs or private events. For more information:

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

Planet watching

Mercury is in the western evening twilight sky. Venus is low in the south western evening sky. Mars is in the morning sky. Jupiter rises after midnight. Saturn is low in the south western sky twilight evening sky setting shortly after sunset. Uranus rises mid evening.

Sept. 8 – The crescent moon is less than two degrees south of Venus. This will be a spectacular binocular sighting since Spica will be less than four degrees away low in the western evening sky.

Sept. 8 – 9 – Mars will be in the Beehive cluster.

Sept. 9 – Saturn is five degrees from the crescent moon low in the evening sky.

Sept. 13 – Hamilton Amateur Astronomers meeting 7:30-9:30 p.m., Spectator building, 44 Frid St., Hamilton. Free admission with door prizes and everyone is welcome. An optional food bank donation of non-perishable goods will be collected.

Guest speaker will be member Dr. David Galbraith, who will talk about A Week of Astronomical Meanderings in Arizona. Observing director John Gauvreau will also talk about The Sky This Month.

Sept. 14 – Public Stargazing Night, Niagara Gateway Tourism Centre, 424 South Service Rd, Grimsby, 7:30 p.m.-11 p.m.

Sept. 16 – Venus and Saturn are less than four degrees apart for the next four nights.

Sept. 19 – The Full Harvest Moon is four degrees from Uranus.

Sept. 20 – Venus is four degrees from Saturn in the western evening sky.

Sept. 22 – The equinox at 4:44 p.m. brings the first day of autumn.

Sept. 28 – The crescent moon is five degrees below Jupiter in the eastern morning sky.

For more information, please see the Hamilton Amateur Astronomers web site at or call (905) 627-4323.

Mario Carr is the club’s director of public education and appears on CHCH-TV to talk about the night sky. He can be reached at


About Mario Carr

Mario Carr has a Physics degree from McMaster University and hosts this blog. He is the director of publicity for the Hamilton Amateur Astronomers and has helped to raise the profile of the group. He writes an astronomy column and appeared on CHCH-TV to talk about the night sky. Mario is the founder of the Carr Marketing Group in Burlington, Ontario and can help with your marketing, communications, publicity and public relations needs. He can be reached at or
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