USPS Star Calendar for 24-30 August 17 August 2014Posted by amedalen in August 2014.
Tags: apogee, Mars, Mercury, Saturn, Spica
add a comment
24 Aug The moon is at apogee, 63.74 Earth-radii (407,000 kilometers) away. Now to Saturn’s left, Mars continues to move left while the ringed planet appears stationary against the background stars during the next few weeks.
27 Aug Setting less than one hour after the sun, the waxing crescent moon is low in the west as the sky darkens. Magnitude –0.4 Mercury is 1 fist-width to the moon’s right. About 5 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated.
28 Aug The moon lies between Mercury, 2 fist-widths to the lower right, and magnitude 1.2 Spica, 1 fist-width to the upper left. The moon sets less than 1½ hours after the sun.
29 Aug Low in the east at sunset, Spica is 1 finger-width to the moon’s lower right.
30 Aug The waxing crescent moon lies between Spica, 1½ fist-widths to the lower right, and the planets Mars and Saturn, about 1 fist-width to the upper left. Mars is much farther to Saturn’s left.
USPS Star Calendar for 17-23 August 10 August 2014Posted by amedalen in August 2014.
Tags: Aldebaran, Alhena, Betelgeuse, Castor, Gemini Twins, Jupiter, last-quarter moon, Libra, Mars, Pleiades, Pollux, Procyon, Saturn, Scorpius, Venus, Zubenelgenubi
add a comment
17 Aug This morning, Jupiter rises 5 minutes after Venus, less than a half a finger-width away. High in the southeast before dawn, the last-quarter moon forms a line with 3 first-magnitude stars: magnitude 1.1 Aldebaran 1½ fist-widths to the lower left, magnitude 0.6 Betelgeuse 2 fist-widths beyond Aldebaran, and magnitude 0.5 Procyon 2½ fist-widths farther, near the horizon.
18 Aug Rising a minute later than Jupiter, Venus slides to Jupiter’s left this morning as they pass within 0.21 degrees. Aldebaran is 2 finger-widths to the waning crescent moon’s lower left. The Pleiades Cluster is 1 fist-width above the moon.
19 Aug Venus quickly falls away from Jupiter. Separated by a half a finger-width, Venus rises 6 minutes after Jupiter. Betelgeuse is 1½ fist-widths below the moon this morning.
20 Aug Before dawn Betelgeuse is 1 fist-width to the moon’s lower right, and Procyon is 2½ fist-widths below the moon.
21 Aug The Gemini Twins, Pollux and Castor, are 1½ fist-widths to the moon’s left before dawn. Pollux is the brighter twin. The second-magnitude star 2 finger-widths to the moon’s upper right is magnitude 1.9 Alhena, also in Gemini. Low in the south early tonight, Mars and Saturn are 1½ fist-widths to the right of Scorpius’ head. Mars is 2 finger-widths to Saturn’s lower right and slides to the left during the next few nights.
22 Aug The waning crescent moon lies between Procyon, 1 fist-width to the lower right, and Pollux, a little farther to the upper left. Less than 10 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated.
23 Aug Rising 1½ hours before the sun, the moon, Venus and Jupiter are clustered within 4 finger-widths near the horizon at first light. Mars is directly below Saturn tonight. The third-magnitude star 1 finger-width to Mars’ upper right is magnitude 2.9 Zubenelgenubi, which represents the top of Libra’s scales.
USPS Star Calendar for 10-16 August 3 August 2014Posted by amedalen in August 2014.
Tags: Cygnus, Deneb, full moon, Jupiter, perigee, Perseid meteor shower, Swan, Venus
add a comment
10 Aug The moon is at perigee, 55.96 Earth-radii (357,000 kilometers) away. The closest perigee of the year occurs less than a half hour before the full moon. Check your tide tables for extreme tides.
11 Aug The Perseid meteor shower peaks during the next few evenings. Unfortunately, the nearly full moon will outshine the meteors.
12 Aug Rising an hour after sunset, the moon is low in the southeast by midnight.
13 Aug High in the west before dawn, the bright star 6 fist-widths to the moon’s right is magnitude 1.3 Deneb, the brightest star in the constellation Cygnus, the Swan.
15 Aug Low in the east before dawn, magnitude –3.9 Venus rises 15 minutes before magnitude –1.8 Jupiter, 1 finger-width away.
16 Aug Venus and Jupiter rise 10 minutes apart this morning and are separated by less than a finger-width.
USPS Star Calendar for 3-9 August 27 July 2014Posted by amedalen in August 2014.
Tags: Antares, first-quarter moon, Mars, Mercury, Sagittarius, Saturn, superior conjunction, Teapot
add a comment
3 Aug Tonight the first-quarter moon slides 4 finger-widths to Mars’ upper left. Saturn is 2 finger-widths to the moon’s upper left, and both set shortly after midnight.
4 Aug At dusk the moon is 4 finger-widths to Saturn’s left. Mars and Saturn line up to the moon’s right. Antares is 1½ fist-widths to the moon’s lower left.
5 Aug Antares is less than 4 finger-widths below the moon at dusk. Saturn is more than 2 fist-widths to the right.
7 Aug The moon is high above the dome of the Teapot constellation Sagittarius.
8 Aug At superior conjunction, Mercury passes on the other side of the sun, 1.347 AU away.
USPS Star Calendar for 27 July-2 August 20 July 2014Posted by amedalen in August 2014, July 2014.
Tags: apogee, Jupiter, Mars, Mercury, Ranger 7, Spica, Venus
add a comment
28 Jul The moon is at apogee, 63.74 Earth-radii (407,000 kilometers) away, the most distant apogee of the year.
29 Jul A few hours before sunrise, Venus, Mercury and Jupiter rise in quick succession above the eastern horizon. Magnitude –3.9 Venus rises 2 hours before the sun, magnitude –1.3 Mercury comes up an hour later, and magnitude –1.8 Jupiter rises 40 minutes later as the sky brightens, making it harder to spot.
31 Jul On this day in 1964, the U.S. reached the first Moon Race milestone when the Ranger 7 spacecraft transmitted more than 4,300 lunar photos before it crashed into the lunar surface, giving scientists detailed pictures and paving the way for future missions.
1 Aug Low in the southwest at sunset, magnitude 1.2 Spica is 4 finger-widths to the left of the thin waxing crescent moon. Magnitude 0.4 Mars is 1 fist-width beyond Spica.
2 Aug The moon is between Spica, 3 finger-widths to the lower right, and Mars, the same distance to the left.
USPS Star Calendar for 20-26 July 13 July 2014Posted by amedalen in July 2014.
Tags: Aldebaran, equation of time, Mercury, Pleiades, Venus
add a comment
21 Jul High in the east before dawn, the Pleiades Cluster is 4 finger-widths to the waning crescent moon’s upper left, and magnitude 1.1 Aldebaran is a little more than 1 fist-width to the lower left.
22 Jul The waning crescent moon passes within half a finger-width of Aldebaran this morning.
24 Jul The thin waning crescent moon and Venus rise side-by-side less than 2 hours before sunrise. Mercury rises a half hour later. All three should be visible low in the east before the sky brightens.
25 Jul Rising after Mercury this morning, a thin sliver of moon is 2 finger-widths to the planet’s lower right.
26 Jul The equation of time reaches a shallow minimum of –6.54 minutes.
USPS Star Calendar for 13-19 July 6 July 2014Posted by amedalen in July 2014.
Tags: Alpheratz, Big Dipper, Deneb Kaitos, Dog Star, Fomalhaut, full moon, Hamal, Mars, Mira, North Star, perigee, Polaris, Sirius, Spica
add a comment
13 Jul You’ll need binoculars to watch as Mars passes to Spica’s left. The moon is at perigee, 56.17 Earth-radii (358,000 kilometers) away. Perigee occurs 21 hours after the full moon, so we can expect tidal extremes.
15 Jul High in the south before dawn, the bright star 2½ fist-widths to the moon’s lower left is magnitude 1.3 Fomalhaut.
16 Jul The moon rises late tonight, making for dark skies and good stargazing. Soon after sunset look high in the northwest for the Big Dipper with its handle pointing up. As evening passes, it rotates counterclockwise and is just above the northern horizon before dawn.
17 Jul Look to the Big Dipper’s right tonight and follow the two pointer stars at the end of the dipper 3 fist-widths to the lower right to Polaris, the North Star. Some mistakenly believe Polaris is the brightest star, but at magnitude 2.1, it’s only second magnitude. The brightest star is magnitude –1.59 Sirius, the Dog Star, which is only above the horizon during the day right now.
18 Jul An hour before dawn, look for several second-magnitude stars within 2 and 2½ fist-widths of the moon: magnitude 2.1 Alpheratz above the moon, magnitude 2.2 Deneb Kaitos to the lower right, magnitude 2.0 Mira slightly closer and to the lower left, and magnitude 2.2 Hamal to the left.
USPS Star Calendar for 6-12 July 29 June 2014Posted by amedalen in July 2014.
Tags: Antares, greatest elongation, Mars, Mercury, Saturn, Scorpion, Spica, Venus
add a comment
6 Jul The moon is between Saturn, 1 fist-width to the left, and Spica and Mars, the same distance to the right.
7 Jul Tonight the moon passes within a half-degree of Saturn, with the best view as Saturn becomes visible. The moon slides to the left as the evening passes.
8 Jul Low in the southeast at dusk, Saturn is 1 fist-width to the moon’s upper right, and Antares, the heart of the Scorpion, is the same distance to the lower left.
9 Jul Antares is 4 finger-widths to the moon’s lower right this evening. More than 80 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated.
10 Jul Tonight magnitude 0.2 Mars is 1 finger-width to magnitude 1.2 Spica’s upper right. During the next few days, Mars moves to Spica’s left.
11 Jul Tonight Mars is three-fourths of a finger-width to Spica’s upper right.
12 Jul You’ll need binoculars to see Mars half a finger-width to Spica’s upper right. Magnitude 0.4 Mercury reaches its greatest elongation west, 20.9 degrees from the sun. Rising 1½ hours before the sun, Mercury is easy to spot before dawn 3 finger-widths to magnitude –3.9 Venus’ lower left.
USPS Star Calendar for 29 June-5 July 22 June 2014Posted by amedalen in July 2014, June 2014.
Tags: aphelion, apogee, first-quarter moon, Jupiter, Leo, Lion, Mars, Regulus, Spica
add a comment
29 Jun Jupiter is a little more than 1 fist-width to the right of the moon, which is a little higher above the western horizon tonight. The moon is less than 10 percent illuminated.
30 Jun Low in the west at dusk, the thin waxing crescent moon sets only two hours after the sun. Magnitude 1.3 Regulus in the constellation Leo, the Lion, is 1 fist-width to the upper left. The moon is at apogee, 63.65 Earth-radii (406,000 kilometers) away.
1 Jul Low in the west at dusk, magnitude 1.3 Regulus is 2 finger-widths to the thin waxing crescent moon’s upper right. About 10 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated.
3 Jul The moon lies midway between Regulus, 2½ fist-widths to the lower right, and magnitude 0.1 Mars, to the upper right. The moon’s surface is about 20 percent illuminated.
4 Jul Much closer to Mars tonight, the moon is 1 fist-width to the right of the red planet. Around midnight, earth is at aphelion, its farthest point from the sun for the year. At 1.01682 AU, it’s about 1.5 million miles farther than its average distance of 93 million miles.
5 Jul Tonight the first-quarter moon passes within a quarter-degree of Mars. Viewing is best as Mars becomes visible in the darkening sky. As evening passes, the moon slides to Mars’ left and is between Mars and Spica when the trio sets early tomorrow morning.
USPS Star Calendar for 22-28 June 15 June 2014Posted by amedalen in June 2014.
Tags: Antares, Arcturus, Big Dipper, Boötes, Denebola, Herdsman, Jupiter, Leo, Lion, Pleiades, Regulus, Scorpion, Scorpius, Venus
add a comment
23 Jun The moon rises 2½ hours before the sun this morning and is followed 40 minutes later by magnitude -3.9 Venus about 1 fist-width to the lower left. The Pleiades Cluster is 3 finger-widths to Venus’ upper left.
24 Jun The moon and Venus rise together this morning, less than 2 hours before the sun. The moon is only 1 finger-width to Venus’ lower right. The moon is only 10 percent illuminated.
25 Jun The moon rises just before the sun for the next few days, giving us dark evenings for stargazing. Let’s look at some of the night sky’s less obvious features. Start in the west with the constellation Leo, the Lion, whose brightest star, magnitude 1.3 Regulus, is easy to spot. How many of the other stars can you see with your binoculars? Most are third magnitude and dimmer except for one second-magnitude star, magnitude 2.2 Denebola, 2½ fist-widths to Regulus’ upper left.
26 Jun Look high overhead tonight. Find Arcturus by following the arc of the Big Dipper’s handle. Arcturus is the brightest star of the constellation Boötes, the Herdsman. Many believe that Boötes looks more like a kite. None of the stars are brighter than third magnitude.
27 Jun Turning to the south, Scorpius, the Scorpion, dominates the area near the horizon. Magnitude 1.1 Antares is its only first-magnitude star.
28 Jun Low in the west after sunset, magnitude -1.8 Jupiter is 2 finger-widths to the very thin moon’s upper right. The moon sets less than an hour after the sun.