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USPS Star Calendar for 1-7 September 25 August 2013

Posted by amedalen in September 2013.
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1 Sep    In the east before dawn, the waning crescent moon stands between the Gemini Twins, 1 fist-width to the upper left, and Procyon, the same distance to the lower right. Brilliant magnitude –2.0 Jupiter is 1 fist-width directly above the moon. Less than 20 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated. The equation of time is zero.

2 Sep    Mars is 3 finger-widths to the slivered moon’s upper left before dawn.

3 Sep    Only two days from new, the moon, about 5 percent illuminated, rises less than two hours before the sun.

5 Sep    Low in the west at dusk, the first light you see is magnitude –4.0 Venus, followed by magnitude 0.7 Saturn, 1 fist-width to the upper left, and magnitude 1.2 Spica, less than 1 finger-width to Venus’ lower left. New moon at 1136 UT

7 Sep    Only a few days old, the moon sets soon after the sun, making stargazing easier. Ursa Major, the Big Dipper, sits a little left of north with its handle pointing to the upper left. The pointer stars at the end of the bucket point toward Polaris, less than 3 fist-widths to the upper right. Looking to the right (east), you can easily make out Cassiopeia, the Lazy W constellation. Turning farther right, now facing south, you can see the Summer Triangle to Cassiopeia’s upper right. Sagittarius and Scorpius are easy to spot near the horizon. Finishing the turn, now facing west, you can see Arcturus, the bright star in the middle of the sky.

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Star light, star bright 21 August 2013

Posted by theensign in Uncategorized.
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You may get a chance to spot an unusual event in tonight’s sky, a nova. An otherwise obscure star in the constellation Delphinus has gone nova and grown brighter by a factor of 50,000. If you have clear, dark skies you may be able to see it for yourself. After the sky grows dark this evening, look high in the east about 3 1/2  fist-widths above the full moon. The star is 1 1/2 fist-widths to the left or lower left of Altair and 3 fist-widths to the lower right of Deneb, two of the stars of the Summer Triangle.
Binoculars will most likely be needed.

The nova was first reported on 14 Aug. by amateur astronomer Koichi Itagaki of Yamagata Japan. For more information visit http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/outthere/2013/08/19/watch-a-nearby-nova-explosion-with-your-own-eyes-tonight#.UhTun387v0w.

–Arnold Medalen

USPS Star Calendar for 25-31 August 18 August 2013

Posted by amedalen in August 2013.
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26 Aug    Rising less than an hour before midnight, the moon is 1 fist-width to the right of the Pleiades Cluster. Nearly 75 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

27 Aug    The waning gibbous moon is high in the south before first light with the Pleiades 4 finger-widths to the upper left.

28 Aug    High in the southeast before dawn, the last-quarter moon (0935 UT) lies between the Pleiades, 4 finger-widths to the upper right, and Aldebaran, 2 finger-widths to the lower left. Orion, the Mighty Hunter, is beyond Aldebaran.

30 Aug    The moon is at apogee, 62.48 Earth-radii (252,000 miles) away.

31 Aug    Magnitude –2.0 Jupiter is 2 finger-widths to the left of the waning crescent moon in the pre-dawn sky. The Gemini Twins are 1½ fist-widths to the lower left.

USPS Star Calendar for 18-24 August 11 August 2013

Posted by amedalen in August 2013.
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19 Aug    The waxing gibbous moon is at perigee, 56.8 Earth-radii (225,000 miles) away.

21 Aug    Full moon at 0145 UT

22 Aug    Rising less than an hour after sunset, the moon is high in the southwest at midnight. Lean back and look straight up; the two bright stars directly overhead are magnitude 0.1 Vega in the constellation Lyra, the Lyre, and magnitude 1.3 Deneb in the constellation Cygnus, the Swan. Both are part of the Summer Triangle.

24 Aug    Rising two hours after sunset, the waxing gibbous moon is low in the east by midnight. The brightest nearby stars are magnitude 2.1 Alpheratz 3 fist-widths above the moon, magnitude 2.2 Hamal 1½ fist-widths to the left and magnitude 2.3 Almach 3 fist-widths to the upper left. The slightly brighter star 1½ fist-widths to the lower left of Almach is magnitude 1.9 Mirfak in the constellation Perseus, the Hero.

USPS Star Calendar for 11-17 August 4 August 2013

Posted by amedalen in August 2013.
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11 Aug    Tonight, the bright star 2 finger-widths to the moon’s upper left is magnitude 1.2 Spica. The Perseid meteor shower peaks over the next few nights. Viewing will be better after the moon sets, 2 to 3 hours after sunset.

12 Aug    Magnitude 0.7 Saturn is 2 finger-widths to the moon’s upper left tonight. Spica is 4 finger-widths to the moon’s lower right. About 25 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

13 Aug    The moon is in the constellation Libra, the Scales, this evening. With binoculars, you should have no trouble spotting magnitude 2.9 Zubenelgenubi, less than 1 finger-width to the moon’s right. The moon is about one-third illuminated.

14 Aug    The first-quarter moon (1056 UT) stands to the right of Scorpius, the head of the Scorpion constellation.

15 Aug    Antares is 4 finger-widths to the moon’s lower right tonight.

16 Aug    The moon stands above the top of Sagittarius, the Teapot constellation.

17 Aug    Rising 3 hours before sunset, the waxing gibbous moon is low in the south in the early evening with magnitude 0.9 Altair 3 fist-widths to the upper left. Only 3 days from full, the moon is about 80 percent illuminated.