USPS Star Calendar for 15-21 December 8 December 2013Posted by amedalen in December 2013.
Tags: Aldebaran, apogee, Arcturus, Comet ISON, full moon, Jupiter, Orion, Procyon, Vega, winter solstice
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15 Dec Aldebaran is 1 finger-width below the moon tonight.
17 Dec The last full moon of the year rises a half-hour after sunset, followed less than an hour later by Jupiter to the lower left. Orion is to the right.
18 Dec This evening, Jupiter and the moon rise side by side an hour and a half after sunset.
19 Dec Jupiter stands directly above the moon in the early evening. Magnitude 0.5 Procyon is 1 fist-width to the moon’s lower right. The moon is at apogee, 63.70 Earth-radii (406,000 kilometers) away.
20 Dec Comet ISON lies midway between Arcturus, to the upper right, and Vega, to the lower left. Its tail should be impressive.
21 Dec Winter arrives in the Northern Hemisphere at 1711 UT as the sun reaches its farthest point south of the celestial equator.
USPS Star Calendar for 8-14 December 1 December 2013Posted by amedalen in December 2013.
Tags: Aldebaran, first-quarter moon, Fomalhaut, gibbous moon, Pleiades, Taurus, Venus
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9 Dec The first-quarter moon is high in the south at sunset. Look for Fomalhaut 3 fist-widths below, near the horizon.
10 Dec Venus reaches its brightest for the year at magnitude –4.9.
11 Dec The waxing gibbous moon spends the evening traversing the southern sky setting well after midnight. About two-thirds of the moon’s surface is illuminated.
14 Dec Rising an hour before sunset, the moon is low in the southeast in the early evening. The Pleiades Cluster is 3 finger-widths to the upper left and Aldebaran, the eye of Taurus, the Bull, is more than 1 fist-width to the lower left.
USPS Star Calendar for 1-7 December 24 November 2013Posted by amedalen in December 2013.
Tags: Comet ISON, Mercury, Orion, perigee, Saturn
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1 Dec Low in the east before dawn, the waning crescent moon stands between Mercury, 2 finger-widths to the lower left, and Saturn, 1½ finger-widths above.
3 Dec Orion climbs above the horizon about an hour after sunset and is high in the south by midnight.
4 Dec The moon is at perigee, 56.45 Earth-radii (360,000 kilometers) away.
5 Dec Comet ISON races northward. The tail may extend as much as a fist-width or more away from the sun. Venus is 3 finger-widths to the moon’s lower left at dusk. Only a few days from its brightest magnitude, Venus should be easy to spot even during daylight. The best time might be a couple of hours before sunset when the moon and Venus are nearly directly south. Depending on your latitude, they should be between 2 to 4 fist-widths above the horizon, higher at southern latitudes, lower at northern latitudes. Be patient. The moon should be easier to spot despite only a sliver being visible. Once you have located the moon, Venus can be found 3 finger-widths to the lower left.
7 Dec Today has the earliest sunset of the year at 40 degrees north latitude. The date and time vary with latitude and also slightly with longitude.
USPS Star Calendar for 24-30 November 17 November 2013Posted by amedalen in November 2013.
Tags: Comet ISON, first-quarter moon, Mars, Mercury, perihelion, Regulus, Saturn, Spica
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24 Nov Now racing at 4 to 5 degrees per day, Comet ISON passes only 5 degrees from Mercury and Saturn. The comet is predicted to brighten to magnitude 0.4 to 0.0 compared with magnitude –0.7 Mercury and magnitude 0.6 Saturn. Spica is far to the upper right of Comet ISON’s head, but the tail may extend all the way up to Spica or even farther.
25 Nov High in the south before dawn, magnitude 1.3 Regulus is 3 finger-widths to the upper left of the first-quarter moon, and Mars is 2½ fist-widths to the lower left. During the next few mornings, the moon moves left toward Mars. Mercury and Saturn are close, low in the east before dawn. They rise 1½ hours before the sun, so you will have to look quickly. Magnitude –0.7 Mercury is less than 1 degree to the upper right of magnitude 0.6 Saturn.
26 Nov This morning, Regulus is 1½ fist-widths to the moon’s upper right, and Mars is the same distance to the lower left. Saturn is less than 1 degree above Mercury.
27 Nov Mars is 3 finger-widths to the moon’s upper left this morning.
28 Nov At perihelion, Comet ISON may be brighter than Sirius and Venus or even as bright as a half moon, and could be visible during daylight.
29 Nov Spica is 1 finger-width to the moon’s lower left tonight. Only 20 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated.
30 Nov The moon is between Spica, 1 fist-width to the upper right, and magnitude 0.6 Saturn, about the same distance to the lower left. Look quickly because Saturn rises less than 2 hours before the sun and will quickly be lost in the brightness.
USPS Star Calendar for 17-23 November 10 November 2013Posted by amedalen in November 2013.
Tags: Aldebaran, apogee, Comet ISON, full moon, Gemini Twins, Jupiter, Mercury, Nunki, Orion, Pleiades, Sagittarius, Spica, Venus
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17 Nov The full moon rises within a few minutes of sunset with the Pleiades Cluster to its upper left. At midnight, the Pleiades Cluster is above the moon with Aldebaran to the lower left and Orion near the horizon.
18 Nov The moon rises an hour after sunset with Aldebaran less than 2 finger-widths to the right or upper right. Still in Sagittarius, Venus passes within a fraction of a degree below magnitude 2.1 Nunki, in the handle of the Teapot. Comet ISON passes close to Spica low in the west before dawn. Moving 2–3 degrees a day, the comet may already have an impressive tail.
19 Nov Nearing Mercury, Comet ISON is a few degrees to Spica’s lower left.
20 Nov Rising 3 hours after sunset, the moon is to Orion’s left. Then rising a half-hour later, Jupiter and the Gemini Twins are to the moon’s lower left.
21 Nov Tonight, Jupiter rises a few minutes before the moon, which is less than 3 finger-widths to the lower right with the Gemini Twins a little farther to the left. Comet ISON may be as bright as magnitude 1.8 this morning.
22 Nov The moon is at apogee, 63.57 Earth-radii (405,000 kilometers) from Earth.
USPS Star Calendar for 10-16 November 3 November 2013Posted by amedalen in November 2013.
Tags: first-quarter moon, gibbous moon, Kaus Borealis, Phi Sagittarii, Sagittarius, Teapot, Venus
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10 Nov The first-quarter moon is high in the south at sunset and sets just after midnight.
11 Nov Low in the southwest at dusk, Venus enters the dome of the Teapot constellation, Sagittarius, and crosses the dome over the next few evenings, finally exiting on the 15th.
12 Nov Using binoculars, look for Venus which passes less than 1 finger-width to the lower left of magnitude 2.9 Kaus Borealis, the uppermost star of Sagittarius’ dome.
13 Nov The waxing gibbous moon is high in the southeast at sunset. About 80 percent of the surface is illuminated.
15 Nov Exiting the dome of the Teapot this evening, Venus is one-half degree to the right of magnitude 3.3 Phi Sagittarii.
USPS Star Calendar for 3-9 November 27 October 2013Posted by amedalen in November 2013.
Tags: Altair, Cassiopeia, Deneb Kaitos, equation of time, Fomalhaut, mean solar time, Mira, perigee, Solar eclipse, Venus
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3 Nov Change your clocks back one hour this morning. The equation of time is at maximum for the year, 16.48 minutes. This means that at noon mean solar time (clock time), the sun has already passed the meridian, 16 minutes earlier. To see today’s total solar eclipse, you will need to go to Africa; however, those in the northeastern U.S. will get a glimpse of a partial eclipse at sunrise.
4 Nov Only one day old, the moon sets an hour after the sun, making for dark evening skies and good stargazing opportunities. Beginning low in the southwest, brilliant magnitude –4.4 Venus is easy to spot soon after sunset. Don’t wait too long, because it sinks below the horizon 2½ hours later. Look 4½ fist-widths above Venus to magnitude 0.9 Altair. Low in the southeast, 6½ fist-widths to Venus’ left is magnitude 1.3 Fomalhaut.
5 Nov Late this evening, find Fomalhaut low in the south and magnitude 2.2 Deneb Kaitos, 2½ fist-widths to the left or upper left. Nearly 3 fist-widths to the left of Deneb Kaitos is magnitude 2.0 Mira. Don’t miss Cassiopeia, the lazy “W” constellation far to the upper left.
6 Nov Low in the west at dusk, magnitude –4.5 Venus is 3 finger-widths to the thin waxing crescent moon’s lower left. The moon is at perigee, 57.28 Earth-radii (365,000 kilometers) from Earth. Only 10 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated.
7 Nov After the moon sets 4 hours after the sun, the sky should be dark enough to see a few of the dimmer stars if you are away from light pollution. Look to the northwest. How many stars can you see in the constellation, Cygnus, the Swan? Of the three bright stars in the area, two are near the horizon. The highest is part of the Swan, magnitude 1.3 Deneb, the head. Three finger-widths to the lower left is magnitude 2.3 Sadr, the center of the Swan’s body. The wings are made up of magnitude 2.6 epsilon cygni, 4 finger-widths to the upper left, and magnitude 3.0 delta cygni, a little farther to the lower right of Sadr. The tail extends 1½ fist-widths to the lower left and ends with magnitude 3.2 Albireo. How many stars can you see between Sadr and Albireo with your naked eye? If the sky is dark enough you should be able to see three fourth-magnitude stars. Now, how many can you see with your binoculars?
9 Nov High in the south at sunset, the moon is between magnitude 0.9 Altair, 2½ fist-widths to the upper right, and magnitude 1.3 Fomalhaut, 3 fist-widths to the lower left.
USPS Star Calendar for 27 October-2 November 20 October 2013Posted by amedalen in November 2013, October 2013.
Tags: Arcturus, Big Dipper, greatest elongation, Mars, Procyon, Regulus, Spica, Venus
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28 Oct High in the south before first light, the waning crescent moon lies between Procyon, 3 fist-widths to the upper right, and Regulus, 4 finger-widths to the lower left. Mars is 4 finger-widths to Regulus’ lower left.
29 Oct Mars, Regulus and the moon form a tight triangle before dawn in the east.
1 Nov The thin waning crescent moon rises 2 hours before the sun this morning. Spica rises later, directly below the moon. Arcturus is more than 3 fist-widths to the left. The Big Dipper stands on its handle to Arcturus’ upper left. Venus reaches its greatest elongation, 47.1 degrees east of the sun.
USPS Star Calendar for 20-26 October 13 October 2013Posted by amedalen in October 2013.
Tags: Aldebaran, apogee, Gemini Twins, gibbous moon, Jupiter, Orion, Pleiades, Procyon, Seven Sisters
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20 Oct The waning gibbous moon rises alongside the Pleiades Cluster a little more than an hour after sunset. By midnight, they are high in the east with the Seven Sisters 4 finger-widths to the moon’s left.
21 Oct Magnitude 1.1 Aldebaran is 2 finger-widths below the moon tonight, and the Seven Sisters are 1 fist-width above, which is a good time to take a closer look at the Pleiades Cluster.
23 Oct The moon and Orion rise 3½ hours after sunset and are near the eastern horizon at midnight.
24 Oct The moon and Orion are high in the south before first light. Jupiter is 1½ fist-widths to the moon’s upper left. This evening, the moon rises an hour before midnight, followed by Jupiter soon thereafter.
25 Oct Before dawn, look for Jupiter 3 finger-widths to the moon’s upper left. The Gemini Twins are above Jupiter. The moon is at apogee, 63.43 Earth-radii (405,000 kilometers) away.
26 Oct The moon is 1 fist-width to Jupiter’s lower left in the east with magnitude 0.5 Procyon 1 fist-width below.
USPS Star Calendar for 13-19 October 6 October 2013Posted by amedalen in October 2013.
Tags: Altair, Antares, Fomalhaut, gibbous moon, Mars, partial lunar eclipse, Regulus
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13 Oct The waxing gibbous moon lies midway between magnitude 0.9 Altair, 3 fist-widths to the upper right, and magnitude 1.3 Fomalhaut, to the lower left. Mars is now to Regulus’ upper left.
14 Oct Although closer, Mars remains to Regulus’ upper left.
15 Oct This morning, Mars sinks to Regulus’ left and passes within less than 1 degree.
16 Oct Now to the lower left of Regulus, Mars falls farther away every day. Meanwhile, in the evening sky, Venus passes within 1.5 degrees of Antares low in the southwest at dusk.
18 Oct As the moon passes through Earth’s outer shadow tonight, the slight penumbral eclipse of the moon will be difficult to see for all but those living in the eastern half of North America, who may see some faint shading of the moon’s southernmost limb soon after moonrise.