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USPS Star Calendar for 27 April-3 May 20 April 2014

Posted by amedalen in April 2014, May 2014.
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29 Apr    An annular (ring) eclipse of the sun occurs today. Unfortunately, the full eclipse will only be visible in the uninhabited region of Wilkes Land in Antarctica.

1 May    Low in the west at sunset, magnitude 1.1 Aldebaran is 2 finger-widths to the moon’s lower right. Only 2 days past new, the moon is less than 5 percent illuminated.

2 May    The thin waxing crescent moon lies between Aldebaran, 1½ fist-widths to the lower right, and Jupiter, about 2 fist-widths to the upper left. Orion is hard to miss to the lower left. The moon is about 10 percent illuminated.

3 May    Look for Betelgeuse 1½ fist widths below the moon tonight and Jupiter about 4 finger-widths above. The bright star 1 fist-width above Jupiter is magnitude 1.2 Pollux, the brightest star in Gemini.

USPS Star Calendar for 20-26 April 13 April 2014

Posted by amedalen in April 2014.
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20 Apr    Easter Sunday is intended to be the Sunday after the full moon on or after the vernal equinox, assuming the equinox is on 21 March. (It can actually occur between 19-21 March.) The date assumed for the full moon also may not coincide with the astronomical date. As a result, the date of Easter is determined by a formula, Golden Numbers and Epacts, and may fall on any Sunday between 22 March and 25 April.

21 Apr    Low in the south before dawn, the moon is midway between Saturn, 6 fist-widths to the right, and Venus, the same distance to the left. The moon is about two-thirds illuminated.

23 Apr    The moon is at perigee, 57.97 Earth-radii (370,000 kilometers) away.

25 Apr    Look quickly before sunrise to see Venus 2 finger-widths below the moon.

26 Apr    Venus and the moon rise within 5 minutes of each other this morning. The moon is about 10 percent illuminated.

USPS Star Calendar for 13-19 April 6 April 2014

Posted by amedalen in April 2014.
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13 Apr    High in the southwest by late evening, Mars is 3 finger-widths to the moon’s lower left, and Spica is 4 finger-widths below Mars.

14 Apr    Only 0.618 AU (92.4 million kilometers) away, Mars makes its closest approach to Earth since January 2008. By midnight, Spica and the moon are high in the southwest, less than ½ finger-width apart.

15 Apr    During April’s full moon, North America will see a total lunar eclipse beginning at about 0200 EDT. Totality begins an hour later and lasts 1 hour and 20 minutes. The moon completely leaves Earth’s umbra at 0533 EDT.

16 Apr    Low in the east at midnight, Saturn is ½ finger-width to the moon’s left. The nearly full moon will likely outshine Saturn, so get out your binoculars. At the southern tip of South America, the moon occults Saturn tomorrow morning.

17 Apr    Saturn stands 1 finger-width to the moon’s right before dawn.

18 Apr    Low in the south before dawn, magnitude 1.1 Antares is 3 finger-widths to the moon’s lower left and Saturn is 1½ fist-widths to the lower right.

USPS Star Calendar for 6-12 April 30 March 2014

Posted by amedalen in April 2014.
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6 Apr    High in the southwest at dusk, Jupiter is less than 3 finger-widths to the moon’s upper right. Procyon is 1½ fist-widths to the lower left.

7 Apr    The first-quarter moon lies midway between Pollux, 1 fist-width to the upper right, and Procyon, the same distance to the lower left. Jupiter is nearly 1½ fist-widths to the right.

8 Apr    Mars is at opposition, meaning it is opposite the sun when viewed from Earth. Mars rises at sunset and remains in the sky all night.

10 Apr    High in the south early tonight, bright Regulus is 2 finger-widths above the moon.

12 Apr    The moon lies between Regulus, 3 fist-widths to the upper right, and Mars, 2 fist-widths to the lower left.  

USPS Star Calendar for 30 March-5 April 23 March 2014

Posted by amedalen in April 2014, March 2014.
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30 Mar    Look for Jupiter and Mars in the evening sky. Jupiter is high in the south at dusk. Mars rises above the horizon nearly an hour after sunset. By midnight, Jupiter has slipped west and Mars is high in the southeast.

3 Apr    High in the west at sunset, magnitude 1.1 Aldebaran is 2 finger-widths to the moon’s upper left and the Pleiades Cluster is 1 fist-width to the lower right. Orion is 2½ fist-widths to the left. Only three days past new, the moon is 10 percent illuminated.

4 Apr    The moon sits between Aldebaran, 1 fist-width to the lower right, and Jupiter, a little more than 2 fist-widths to the upper left. Betelgeuse is 1½ fist-widths to the left.

USPS Star Calendar for 23-29 March 16 March 2014

Posted by amedalen in March 2014.
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23 Mar    Saturn is 3 fist-widths to the moon’s right, and Venus is 5 fist-widths to the left.

24 Mar    The moon is farther to the left this morning, with Saturn 4½ fist-widths to the right and Venus 3½ fist-widths to the left.

25 Mar    Venus is now 2½ fist-widths to the moon’s lower left.

26 Mar    Venus and the moon are now only 1 fist-width apart.

27 Mar    Passing Venus, the moon is less than 2 finger-widths to the planet’s upper left. They rise within 10 minutes of each other, two hours before sunrise. The moon is at perigee, 57.40 Earth-radii (360,000 kilometers) away.

28 Mar    Mercury is 4 finger-widths to the waning crescent moon’s lower left this morning. The moon rises an hour and a half before the sun, and Mercury rises 45 minutes after the moon, which is about 10 percent illuminated.

29 Mar    Less than an hour before sunrise, Mercury and the moon rise within 10 minutes of each other, with Mercury 4 finger-widths to the moon’s right.

USPS Star Calendar for 16-22 March 9 March 2014

Posted by amedalen in March 2014.
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16 Mar    The full moon rises two hours before magnitude 0.9 Mars. Magnitude 1.2 Spica rises at the same time as Mars, 2½ finger-widths to the right.

17 Mar    The moon rises less than an hour before Mars and Spica this evening.

18 Mar    Tonight Mars and Spica rise less than 15 minutes before the moon. They form a tight triangle that you can cover with two fingers held at arm’s length.

19 Mar    The moon rises more than three hours after sunset. Saturn follows an hour later.

20 Mar    The vernal equinox occurs at 1657 UT as the sun crosses the celestial equator into the Northern Hemisphere, resulting in nearly equal amounts of day and night throughout the world. This marks the first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere and the first day of fall in the Southern Hemisphere. Late tonight, Saturn rises less than 10 minutes before the moon, separated by less than 1 finger-width. The moon is low in the south before dawn with Mars nearly 2 fist-widths to the right and Saturn 4 finger-widths to the left.

21 Mar    Saturn is 2 finger-widths to the moon’s right this morning. Over the next few days, the moon travels the morning sky right to left, from Saturn to Venus.

22 Mar    Antares is 3 finger-widths below the moon before dawn. Saturn is nearly 2 fist-widths to the right. Venus is far to the lower left.

USPS Star Calendar for 9-15 March 2 March 2014

Posted by amedalen in March 2014.
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9 Mar    High in the south at dusk, the moon is between Jupiter, 3 finger-widths to the upper left, and Betelgeuse, a little more than 1 fist-width to the lower right. Daylight saving time begins this morning at 0200. The clock hour of 0200-0300 is lost as we turn our clocks forward. Don’t worry; we’ll get the hour back on 2 Nov. when we turn our clocks back at 0200.

10 Mar    High in the southeast after sunset, the waxing gibbous moon is between Jupiter, 4 finger-widths above, and Procyon, a little more than 1 fist-width below. The trio moves west and is high in the west by midnight, with Jupiter to the lower right and Procyon to the lower left.

11 Mar    The moon is at apogee, 63.63 Earth-radii (405,000 kilometers) away.

12 Mar    Just after sunset, the waxing gibbous moon is high in the southeast midway between Procyon, 2 fist-widths to the upper right, and Regulus, the same distance to the lower left. As the evening passes, Procyon moves to the right and then lower right of the moon and Regulus moves to the left and then upper left.

13 Mar    Regulus is 3 finger-widths to the moon’s lower left in the early evening. Later this evening Regulus moves to the left and then upper left by midnight.

14 Mar    Mercury reaches its greatest elongation,  27.6 degrees west, rising more than an hour before the sun. Regulus is 4 finger-widths above the moon tonight. More than 90 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated. The only part not shining is the thin sliver facing east. 

USPS Star Calendar for 2-8 March 23 February 2014

Posted by amedalen in March 2014.
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3 Mar    The waxing crescent moon sets three hours after the sun. Less than 10 percent illuminated, the moon is surrounded by three second-magnitude stars: Alpheratz, 2½ fist-widths to the right; Mira, 2 fist-widths to the upper left; and Hamal, 2 fist-widths above.

4 Mar    Tonight the moon lies between Mira and Hamal. If you are far away from city lights, you should be able to spot the third-magnitude star 2 finger-widths below Hamal, magnitude 2.7 Sheratan. Both stars are in the constellation Aries, the Ram.

6 Mar    In the early evening, the Pleiades Cluster is 3 finger-widths to the moon’s upper right high in the west. About 25 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

7 Mar    As the sky darkens and the stars become visible, look for Aldebaran, 1 finger-width below the moon high in the southwest at sunset.

8 Mar    Several first-magnitude stars and a planet surround the moon high in the south at sunset: Magnitude 0.6 Betelgeuse is 1 fist-width to the lower left; magnitude 1.1 Aldebaran is 1 fist-width to the lower right; magnitude 0.2 Capella is 2½ fist-widths to the upper right; and magnitude –2.4 Jupiter is 1½ fist-widths to the upper left.

USPS Star Calendar for 23 February-1 March 16 February 2014

Posted by amedalen in February 2014, March 2014.
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23 Feb    The moon spends the next three days traveling between Saturn and Venus. This morning Saturn is 2 fist-widths to the moon’s upper right, and Venus is 3½ fist-widths to the lower left.

24 Feb    Venus is 2 fist-widths to the moon’s lower left, and Saturn is 3½ fist-widths to the moon’s upper right.

25 Feb    The waning crescent moon is now less than 1 fist-width to Venus’ upper right. Only 25 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

26 Feb    The moon passes to Venus’s lower left today.

27 Feb    The moon is at perigee, 56.57 Earth-radii (360,000 kilometers) away. Before the sky gets too bright this morning, look for Mercury less than 2 finger-widths to the moon’s lower left. Only two days before new, the moon is less than 10 percent illuminated.

28 Feb    With a new moon early tomorrow morning, tonight is prime time for stargazing. High in the south at sunset, Jupiter is the first visible light in the evening sky. Orion stands to its lower right. Follow the three stars in Orion’s belt 2 fist-widths to the lower left to Sirius, the Dog Star, in the constellation Canis Major.

1 March   Look to the northeast at dusk to see the Big Dipper standing on its handle. The thin waxing crescent moon sets soon after the sun, making this a good opportunity to spot the Little Dipper. First find Polaris, the North Star, by following the pointer stars on the Big Dipper’s bucket 3 fist-widths to the left. Polaris marks the end of the Little Dipper’s handle. The rest of the handle arcs nearly 2 fist-widths to the lower right. The bucket hangs downward from the handle.

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