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USPS Star Calendar for 3-9 May 26 April 2015

Posted by amedalen in May 2015.
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

3 May    High in the east at midnight, the full moon is midway between Spica, 2 fist-widths to the upper right, and Saturn, to the lower left.

4 May    The moon rises shortly after sunset and is followed a little more than a half-hour later by Saturn.

5 May    Rising late, the moon, Saturn and Antares are low in the east at midnight. Saturn is 3 finger-widths to the moon’s upper right while Antares is 4 finger-widths to the lower right.

6 May    Early this morning, the moon, Saturn and Antares travel low in the south and are low in the southwest at first light.

7 May    At its greatest elongation 21.2 degrees east of the sun, Mercury sets an hour after sunset.

8 May    The waning gibbous moon rises to the upper left of the dome of the Teapot, Sagittarius.

9 May    Tonight and the next few nights, the moon rises after midnight, making for good stargazing in the evening. Look in the north for the Big Dipper, which is upside down and nearly overhead.


1. George F. Prescott, SN - 26 April 2015

Explain elongation, please.

2. amedalen - 26 April 2015

Thanks for the great question. Elongation means the distance from the Sun, as viewed from our vantage point here on Earth. Since Mercury’s orbit is closer to the Sun than ours, it appears to grow closer to the sun as it passes behind, or in front of the sun. After it passes, it appears to be further and further away, until its orbit again brings it back toward the sun, eventually again passing behind or in front of the Sun. The amount greatest elongation varies depending, to a large part, on where we are in our orbit.

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