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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.

USPS Star Calendar for 6-12 July 29 June 2014

Posted by amedalen in July 2014.
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6 Jul    The moon is between Saturn, 1 fist-width to the left, and Spica and Mars, the same distance to the right.

7 Jul    Tonight the moon passes within a half-degree of Saturn, with the best view as Saturn becomes visible. The moon slides to the left as the evening passes.

8 Jul    Low in the southeast at dusk, Saturn is 1 fist-width to the moon’s upper right, and Antares, the heart of the Scorpion, is the same distance to the lower left.

9 Jul    Antares is 4 finger-widths to the moon’s lower right this evening. More than 80 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

10 Jul    Tonight magnitude 0.2 Mars is 1 finger-width to magnitude 1.2 Spica’s upper right. During the next few days, Mars moves to Spica’s left.

11 Jul    Tonight Mars is three-fourths of a finger-width to Spica’s upper right.

12 Jul    You’ll need binoculars to see Mars half a finger-width to Spica’s upper right. Magnitude 0.4 Mercury reaches its greatest elongation west, 20.9 degrees from the sun. Rising 1½ hours before the sun, Mercury is easy to spot before dawn 3 finger-widths to magnitude –3.9 Venus’ lower left.

USPS Star Calendar for 29 June-5 July 22 June 2014

Posted by amedalen in July 2014, June 2014.
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29 Jun    Jupiter is a little more than 1 fist-width to the right of the moon, which is a little higher above the western horizon tonight. The moon is less than 10 percent illuminated.

30 Jun    Low in the west at dusk, the thin waxing crescent moon sets only two hours after the sun. Magnitude 1.3 Regulus in the constellation Leo, the Lion, is 1 fist-width to the upper left. The moon is at apogee, 63.65 Earth-radii (406,000 kilometers) away.

1 Jul    Low in the west at dusk, magnitude 1.3 Regulus is 2 finger-widths to the thin waxing crescent moon’s upper right. About 10 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

3 Jul    The moon lies midway between Regulus, 2½ fist-widths to the lower right, and magnitude 0.1 Mars, to the upper right. The moon’s surface is about 20 percent illuminated.

4 Jul    Much closer to Mars tonight, the moon is 1 fist-width to the right of the red planet. Around midnight, earth is at aphelion, its farthest point from the sun for the year. At 1.01682 AU, it’s about 1.5 million miles farther than its average distance of 93 million miles.

5 Jul    Tonight the first-quarter moon passes within a quarter-degree of Mars. Viewing is best as Mars becomes visible in the darkening sky. As evening passes, the moon slides to Mars’ left and is between Mars and Spica when the trio sets early tomorrow morning.