USPS Star Calendar for 21-27 December 14 December 2014Posted by amedalen in December 2014.
Tags: Altair, equation of time, Jupiter, Mars, perigee, winter solstice
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21 Dec The winter solstice marks the first day of winter in the Northern Hemisphere.
23 Dec Only two days past new, the thin waxing crescent moon is low in the west at dusk.
24 Dec Mars stands to the left of the moon early this evening. They set less than 3½ hours after the sun. Altair is 2½ fist-widths to the moon’s upper right. The moon is at perigee, 57.19 Earth-radii (365,000 kilometers) away.
25 Dec Mars is 1 fist-width to the moon’s lower right this evening. The equation of time is zero.
26 Dec The moon spends the last week of the year crossing the evening sky between Mars and Jupiter. Tonight Mars is 2½ fist-widths to the moon’s lower right. Jupiter doesn’t even rise in the west until 20 minutes after Mars sets.
USPS Star Calendar for 14-20 December 7 December 2014Posted by amedalen in December 2014.
Tags: Antares, Jupiter, Saturn, Spica
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14 Dec Having moved closer to Spica, the moon is about midway between Jupiter and Spica.
16 Dec The moon is 3 finger-widths to Spica’s upper right. About one-third of the moon’s surface is illuminated.
17 Dec This morning, the moon is to Spica’s lower left, and Saturn is 3 fist-widths to the moon’s lower left.
18 Dec The waning crescent moon lies midway between Spica, nearly 2 fist-widths to the upper right, and Saturn, nearly as far to the lower left this morning. The moon is about 20 percent illuminated.
19 Dec The moon rises less than 3 hours before the sun this morning. Saturn rises a half hour after the moon. They can be seen low in the east before first light, Saturn 2 finger-widths to the lower left of the moon.
20 Dec Only a small sliver of the moon is illuminated as it rises about 1½ hours before the sun. Saturn is 1 fist-width to the moon’s upper right. Before the sky brightens, you may catch a glimpse of Antares 4 finger-widths to the moon’s lower right.
USPS Star Calender for 7-13 December 30 November 2014Posted by amedalen in December 2014.
Tags: Alhena, apogee, Gemini Twins, gibbous moon, Jupiter, Orion, Procyon, Regulus, Sirius, Spica
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7 Dec The moon lies between Orion and Gemini this evening. Magnitude 1.9 Alhena is 2 finger-widths below the moon.
8 Dec The Gemini Twins rise with the moon, more than 2 hours after sunset. By midnight, they are high in the east with Procyon 1 fist-width to the moon’s lower right.
9 Dec Magnitude 0.5 Procyon and the moon rise more than 3 hours after sunset. Procyon is 1 fist-width to the moon’s right. Sirius is another 2 ½ fist-widths beyond Procyon.
10 Dec The moon rises a little more than 4 hours after sunset, and Jupiter follows a half hour later. By midnight, they are still fairly low in the east. Procyon is 2 fist-widths to the moon’s upper right, and Jupiter is 1 fist-width to the lower left. Regulus is 4 finger-widths to Jupiter’s lower left.
11 Dec Jupiter rises 1 hour 20 minutes after sunset, followed by the moon 20 minutes later. Together with Regulus, they form a tight triangle low in the east late this evening and early tomorrow morning. Four fingers held at arm’s length will cover all three.
12 Dec The waning gibbous moon rises late tonight, with Regulus and Jupiter directly above it. The moon is at apogee, 63.44 Earth-radii (405,000 kilometers) away.
13 Dec Right to left, Jupiter, Regulus and the moon line up high in the south in the pre-dawn sky. Spica is far to the lower left.
USPS Star Calendar for 30 November-6 December 23 November 2014Posted by amedalen in December 2014, November 2014.
Tags: Aldebaran, Betelgeuse, Capella, Deneb Kaitos, full moon, Gemini Twins, gibbous moon, Hamal, iota Ceti, Menkar, Mira, Orion, Pleiades, Pollux, Rigel, Sheratan, Taurus the Bull
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30 Nov High in the southeast at dusk, the waxing gibbous moon is 2 fist-widths above a second-magnitude star, magnitude 2.2 Deneb Kaitos. Can you see the fourth-magnitude star midway between them? You may need binoculars to make out magnitude 3.8 iota Ceti.
2 Dec Tonight look for magnitude 2.0 Mira, 1½ fist-widths below the moon.
3 Dec The moon is surrounded by two second-magnitude and two third-magnitude stars this evening. The brightest, magnitude 2.0 Mira is 1½ fist-widths to the lower right. Next in brightness, magnitude 2.2 Hamal is about the same distance to the upper left. Two finger-widths to Hamal’s right is magnitude 2.7 Sheratan. Finally, magnitude 2.8 Menkar is below and slightly right of the moon. You will need binoculars to get the most out of this viewing opportunity.
4 Dec The Pleiades Cluster is 1 fist-width to the moon’s left or upper left this evening. Aldebaran is 1½ fist-widths to the lower left. The moon is more than 90 percent illuminated.
5 Dec The nearly full moon rises in the middle of the constellation Taurus, the Bull, shortly before sunset. The brightest star, Aldebaran, is 1 finger-width to the moon’s lower left at dusk. Passing within less than 1 degree, the moon grows closer to Aldebaran as the evening passes. At midnight, the pair stands high in the south with Aldebaran to the moon’s lower right.
6 Dec By mid-evening the full moon is high in the east surrounded by several first-magnitude stars. Aldebaran is 1 fist-width to the upper right. Capella is nearly 3 fist-widths to the upper left. Far below Capella is Pollux, the brighter of the Gemini Twins. Orion is to the lower right of the moon with its two first-magnitude stars, Betelgeuse 1 fist-width to the moon’s lower right, and Rigel at the opposite corner, beyond the belt.
USPS Star Calendar for 23-29 November 16 November 2014Posted by amedalen in November 2014.
Tags: first-quarter moon, Fomalhaut, Mars, perigee
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24 Nov Low in the west at dusk, the waxing crescent moon sets less than 2½ hours after the sun. Mars is nearly 2 fist-widths to the upper left.
25 Nov Mars is 4 finger-widths to the left of the waxing crescent moon, low in the southwest early tonight. The moon is less than 10 percent illuminated.
26 Nov Tonight the moon is 1 fist-width above Mars, which sets 2½ hours after the sun and is followed by the moon an hour later.
27 Nov The moon is at perigee, 57.99 Earth-radii (370,000 kilometers) away.
29 Nov Fomalhaut is 2½ fist-widths below the first-quarter moon high in the south at dusk.
USPS Star Calendar for 16-22 November 9 November 2014Posted by amedalen in November 2014.
Tags: Aldebaran, Altair, Big Dipper, Capella, Deneb, Edwin Hubble, Gemini Twins, Milky Way, Orion, Pleiades, Seven Sisters, Spica, Summer Triangle, Vega
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16 Nov The moon rises early tomorrow morning, so dark skies tonight make exploration a little easier. Look high in the west 3 or 4 hours after sunset. The Summer Triangle, made up of the only first-magnitude stars in the area, dominates the western sky. The brightest, magnitude 0.1 Vega, forms the lower right corner of the triangle. The next brightest, magnitude 0.9 Altair, anchors the lower left corner, a little more than 3 fist-widths to Vega’s left or lower left. Magnitude 1.3 Deneb sits at the triangle’s top, a little more than 2 fist-widths above or to the upper left of Vega.
17 Nov Only two first-magnitude stars are in the east tonight. The brightest is magnitude 0.2 Capella. Three fist-widths to its lower right is magnitude 1.1 Aldebaran. The moonless sky gives us the perfect chance for a good view of the Pleiades Cluster, the Seven Sisters. With your naked eye, look a little more than 1 fist-width above Aldebaran and see how many of the sisters you can spot. Now look with your binoculars.
19 Nov Low in the east before dawn, Spica is 1 finger-width below the waning crescent moon, which is only 10 percent illuminated.
20 Nov Edwin Hubble was born on this day in 1889. Among his greater contributions to astronomy was the confirmation that the Milky Way is just one of billions of galaxies in the visible universe. He also discovered that the universe is expanding in all directions, relative to everything else in the universe. In recognition of his achievements, NASA named its large space telescope for him.
21 Nov Only one day before new, the moon sets a few minutes after sunset, making for dark skies and good viewing opportunities. About 4 hours after sunset, Orion and Gemini appear above the eastern horizon. To the north, the Big Dipper is just above the horizon. For viewers in southern states, the Big Dipper is below the horizon.
USPS Star Calendar for 9-15 November 2 November 2014Posted by amedalen in November 2014.
Tags: Alhena, apogee, Gemini Twins, Jupiter, last-quarter moon, Mighty Hunter, Orion, Procyon, Regulus
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9 Nov The moon rises 2½ hours after sunset, followed shortly by the Gemini Twins to the lower left and Orion, the Mighty Hunter, to the lower right. They are high in the west before dawn tomorrow with the twins above the moon and the hunter below.
10 Nov The moon rises 3½ hours after sunset, about the same time as Gemini and Orion. The star 1 finger-width to the moon’s right or upper right is magnitude 1.9 Alhena, part of the Gemini constellation.
11 Nov Rising late, the moon is high in the east at midnight with the Gemini Twins 1 fist-width to the upper left and Procyon the same distance to the lower right.
13 Nov The moon and Jupiter rise side by side shortly before midnight and are separated by less than 3 finger-widths.
14 Nov Regulus, Jupiter and the last-quarter moon form a tight triangle high in the south at first light. Jupiter is 2 finger-widths above or to the upper left of the moon while Regulus is 1 fist-width to the moon’s left or upper left.
15 Nov The moon and Regulus rise a few minutes apart shortly after midnight. They are high in the south at sunrise with Regulus less than 3 finger-widths above the moon. Jupiter is to the upper right. The moon is at apogee, 63.39 Earth-radii (404,000 kilometers) away.
USPS Star Calendar for 2-8 November 26 October 2014Posted by amedalen in November 2014.
Tags: Aldebaran, Daylight saving time, Kaus Borealis, Mars, Mercury, perigee, Pleiades, Sagittarius, Spica, Teapot
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2 Nov Turn your clocks back. Daylight saving time ends this morning at 0200. Technically, the clock hour 0100 to 0200 is repeated. Déjà vu.
3 Nov Magnitude 0.9 Mars is less than ½ finger-width above magnitude 2.9 Kaus Borealis, the uppermost star in the dome of the Teapot constellation, Sagittarius. The moon is at perigee, 57.68 Earth-radii (368,000 kilometers) away.
5 Nov Mercury and Spica rise side by side, 1½ hours before the sun.
7 Nov The moon forms a triangle with magnitude 1.1 Aldebaran, less than 1 fist-width to the lower left, and the Pleiades Cluster, the same distance to the upper left.
8 Nov Aldebaran is 2 finger-widths to the moon’s upper right tonight.
USPS Star Calendar for 26 October-1 November 19 October 2014Posted by amedalen in November 2014, October 2014.
Tags: Altair, Antares, first-quarter moon, Fomalhaut, gibbous moon, greatest elongation, Mars, Mercury, Spica
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26 Oct Antares is 4 finger-widths to the moon’s lower left just above the horizon at dusk. The moon is only 5 percent illuminated.
27 Oct Low in the southwest at sunset, magnitude 0.9 Mars is less than 1 fist-width to the lower left of the thin waxing crescent moon. About 10 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated.
28 Oct Mars sets 3 hours after the sun. The moon, now to Mars’ upper left, follows an hour later.
29 Oct The bright star 2½ fist-widths above the moon at dusk is magnitude 0.9 Altair.
31 Oct The first-quarter moon lies midway between magnitude 0.9 Altair, 3 fist-widths to the upper right, and magnitude 1.3 Fomalhaut, to the lower left.
1 Nov In the southeast at sunset, magnitude 1.3 Fomalhaut is 2½ fist-widths below the waxing gibbous moon. Magnitude –0.5 Mercury reaches its greatest elongation of the year, 18.7 degrees west of the sun. Rising more than 1½ hours before the sun, Mercury is followed a few minutes later by magnitude 1.2 Spica to the lower right.
USPS Star Calendar for 19-25 October 12 October 2014Posted by amedalen in October 2014.
Tags: Antares, Big Dipper, Jupiter, partial solar eclipse, Saturn
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19 Oct Two fist-widths below Jupiter, the moon rises 4 hours before the sun and is 20 percent illuminated.
20 Oct Before first light, the Big Dipper stands on its handle, far to the left of the thin waning crescent moon low in the east.
21 Oct Two days before new, the moon is just a thin sliver low in the east before dawn.
23 Oct A partial solar eclipse will be visible across the U.S. this afternoon. More of the sun will be covered for those in the northern latitudes than for those farther south. Remember not to look directly at the sun.
25 Oct Only two days old, the moon is low in the east at dusk, setting less than 1½ hours after the sun. You may catch a glimpse of magnitude 0.6 Saturn, 2 finger-widths to the lower right. Magnitude 1.1 Antares is 1½ fist-widths to the left.