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USPS Star Calendar for 3-9 November 27 October 2013

Posted by amedalen in November 2013.
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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 2013

Posted by amedalen in November 2013, October 2013.
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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 2013

Posted by amedalen in October 2013.
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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 2013

Posted by amedalen in October 2013.
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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.

Comet tale 1 October 2013

Posted by amedalen in October 2013.
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Discovered in September 2012, Comet ISON will miss Earth by millions of miles as it travels through our inner solar system, and so will its debris if the comet breaks apart.

A breakup might be disappointing for ISON observers hoping for a spectacular display, but they may see a beautiful string of pearls in the sky, similar to that of Comet S-W 3, which broke up in 2006.

Comet ISON is approaching Mars in the pre-dawn sky. Although invisible to the naked eye, the comet can be seen with a backyard telescope.

Arnold Medalen