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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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.
USPS Star Calendar for 15-21 June 8 June 2014Posted by amedalen in June 2014.
Tags: Altair, Big Dipper, Deneb, Fomalhaut, last-quarter moon, perigee, summer solstice, Summer Triangle, Vega
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15 Jun The bright star 2½ fist-widths above the moon this morning is magnitude 0.9 Altair. The moon is at perigee, 56.77 Earth-radii (362,000 kilometers) away.
17 Jun In the predawn sky, the moon lies between Altair, 3 fist-widths to the upper right, and magnitude 1.3 Fomalhaut, 2½ fist-widths to the lower left.
18 Jun The moon rises a little after midnight this morning and is high in the south at first light.
19 Jun The last-quarter moon rises well after midnight, making for good stargazing for the next few evenings. The Big Dipper is high in the northwest with its handle pointing straight up. Rotating counter-clockwise as the evening passes, it is near the northern horizon before first light tomorrow.
20 Jun This is the perfect time to spot the Summer Triangle in the east about an hour after sunset. The triangle’s three stars—magnitudes 0.9 Altair, 1.3 Deneb and -0.1 Vega—are the brightest in the area. Start with the highest and brightest of the three, Vega. Measure a little more than 2 fist-widths to the lower left to Deneb.The last star, Altair, is nearly 4 fist-widths to Deneb’s lower right.
21 Jun The summer solstice occurs at 1051 UT when the sun reaches its farthest point north in the sky.
USPS Star Calendar for 8-14 June 4 June 2014Posted by amedalen in June 2014.
Tags: Antares, equation of time, Mars, Regulus, Sagittarius, Saturn, Scorpion, Spica, Teapot
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8 Jun The moon passes to the left of Spica by less than the width of a finger held at arm’s length.
9 Jun The moon lies between Spica and Saturn this evening. Saturn is 4 finger-widths to the moon’s lower left.
10 Jun The moon lies nearly 3 finger-widths to Saturn’s lower left.
11 Jun The moon, Saturn, Spica, Mars and Regulus form a more or less straight line spanning 10 fist-widths across the southern sky early this evening. Antares, the red heart of the Scorpion, is 4 finger-widths to the moon’s lower right near the southeastern horizon.
12 Jun Low in the southeast by midnight, Antares is 1½ fist-widths to the moon’s right or lower right. The Teapot constellation, Sagittarius, is to the lower left, near the horizon.
13 Jun The full moon rises a half-hour after sunset and sets tomorrow morning nearly 2 hours after sunrise. The equation of time is zero. Local mean time and sun time are equal.
USPS Star Calendar for 1-7 June 4 June 2014Posted by amedalen in June 2014.
Tags: apogee, Jupiter, Mars, Regulus, Saturn, Spica
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1 Jun The moon moves to Jupiter’s upper left tonight.
2 Jun The waxing crescent moon is midway between Jupiter, 2 fist-widths to the lower right, and magnitude 1.3 Regulus, the same distance to the upper left.
3 Jun Regulus is 4 finger-widths to the moon’s upper left this evening. The moon is about one-third illuminated. It is at apogee, 63.49 Earth-radii (405,000 kilometers) away.
4 Jun Climbing higher in the west with each passing day, the waxing moon is now to Regulus’ lower left. Mars is far to the moon’s upper left.
5 Jun Regulus is 2 fist-widths to the right or lower right of the first-quarter moon tonight. Mars is a little more than 2 fist-widths to the upper left.
6 Jun The moon is high in the south as the sky darkens this evening. Magnitudes -0.4 Mars, 1.2 Spica, and 0.2 Saturn line up to the left. The moon will pass them, one by one, over the next few days.
7 Jun The moon passes Mars, which is only 1 finger-width to the moon’s upper right tonight.