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USPS Star Calendar for 3-9 August 27 July 2014

Posted by amedalen in August 2014.
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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 2014

Posted by amedalen in August 2014, July 2014.
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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 2014

Posted by amedalen in July 2014.
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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 2014

Posted by amedalen in July 2014.
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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.