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USPS Star Calendar for 30 June-6 July 23 June 2013

Posted by amedalen in July 2013, June 2013.
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30 Jun    Last-quarter moon at 0453 UT

1 Jul    Magnitude –3.9 Venus is low in the west at sunset with magnitude 1.3 Regulus 2½ fist-widths to the upper left.

2 Jul    In the early evening, you’ll find the Big Dipper, Ursa Major, with its handle pointing up high in the southwest. It rotates counterclockwise and sinks toward the horizon as the evening passes. The year is half over at 1200 UT.

4 Jul    With the moon rising more than 2½ hours before the sun, tonight is a good time to view the Pleiades Cluster, 3 finger-widths to the upper left, and Aldebaran, 1 fist-width to the lower left.

5 Jul    Magnitude 1.1 Aldebaran is 2 finger-widths to the right of the waning crescent moon this morning. At around 1500 UT, Earth reaches aphelion, its farthest distance from the sun at 1.01670 astronomical units (94 million miles) away. Aphelion varies from as early as 2 July to as late as 6 July. Earth is about 3.1 million miles more distant than it was at perihelion on 2 Jan.

USPS Star Calendar for 23-29 June 16 June 2013

Posted by amedalen in June 2013.
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23 Jun    The moon is at perigee, 55.97 Earth-radii, or 357,000 kilometers, away. Perigee occurs less than a half hour before the full moon, so we can expect tidal extremes. Full moon at 1132 UT

24 Jun    Three finger-widths to the lower left of Pollux, Venus lines up with the Gemini Twins over the next two evenings. Look quickly because Venus sets little more than an hour and a half after the sun.

25 Jun    Rising late, the moon is low in the southwest before dawn. Only a couple of days past full, the moon is 95 percent illuminated.

27 Jun    High in the south at dawn, Altair is 3½ fist-widths to the moon’s upper right, and Fomalhaut is 2½ fist-widths to its lower left. The moon is 80 percent illuminated.

28 Jun    Before dawn, you’ll find magnitude 1.3 Fomalhaut 2½ fist-widths below the moon.

USPS Star Calendar for 16-22 June 9 June 2013

Posted by amedalen in June 2013.
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16 Jun    High in the southwest at dusk, the first-quarter moon sits between Regulus, 3 fist-widths to the right or lower right, and Spica, 2 fist-widths to the left. Venus and Mercury pass close to each other during the next few evenings. Tonight Venus is 1½ finger-widths to Mercury’s lower right. On this day in 1963, Valentina Tereschkova became the first woman in space.

17 Jun    Moving closer, the moon is about 1 fist-width to Spica’s right tonight. Can you make out dim stars between the moon and Spica? You will need good binoculars to see magnitude 4.9 psi Virginis and magnitude 5.3 49 Virginis. 

18 Jun    The waxing gibbous moon is high in the south at sunset. Magnitude 1.2 Spica is 2 finger-widths to the upper right, and magnitude 0.4 Saturn is 4 finger-widths to the upper left. Low in the west, Venus is 1 finger-width to the right of Mercury. About two-thirds of the moon is illuminated.

19 Jun    Saturn is 4 finger-widths to the moon’s upper right tonight.

20 Jun    Tonight, the moon is to the right of Scorpius, the head of the Scorpion. Low in the west at dusk, Mercury is 1.9 degrees to the lower left of Venus.

21 Jun    Magnitude 1.1 Antares, the heart of the Scorpion, is 3 finger-widths to the moon’s lower right tonight. The summer solstice occurs at 0504 UT, as the sun reaches the point farthest north of the celestial equator.

USPS Star Calendar for 9-15 June 2 June 2013

Posted by amedalen in June 2013.
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9 Jun    The moon is at apogee, 63.73 Earth-radii, or 406,000 kilometers, away.

10 Jun    With a clear view of the western horizon after dusk, you should be able to spot Mercury and Venus to the moon’s right. Get out early, because Venus and the moon slip below the horizon 1½ hours after sunset, and Mercury follows 20 minutes later.

11 Jun    A little higher this evening, the moon, now to the upper left of Venus and Mercury, sets 2 hours after the sun. Less than 10 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

12 Jun    Mercury is at its greatest elongation, 24.3 degrees east of the sun.

13 Jun    Regulus is 1 fist-width to the moon’s upper left this evening.

14 Jun    Tonight, Regulus is 4 finger-widths to the moon’s upper right.

USPS Star Calendar for 2-8 June 26 May 2013

Posted by amedalen in June 2013.
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3 Jun    The waning crescent moon rises 3 hours before the sun. About 25 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

4 Jun    The moon spends the next few evenings out of view, leaving us with dark skies for stargazing. In the east, Gemini is closer to the horizon. Regulus and the constellation Leo have taken over the western sky. Leo’s second brightest star, magnitude 2.2 Denebola, is 2½ fist-widths to Regulus’ upper left.

5 Jun    In the south, midway up from the horizon, two bright bodies grab our attention. The brighter is Saturn. At magnitude 0.4, it outshines magnitude 1.2 Spica, 1 fist-width to the right. Magnitude 0.2 Arcturus is high above, and magnitude 1.1 Antares is far to the lower left.

6 Jun    The Summer Triangle begins to climb in the eastern sky. Magnitude 0.1 Vega is halfway up from the horizon, a little left of east, magnitude 1.3 Deneb is 2½ fist-widths to the lower left, and 4 fist-widths to the lower right, magnitude 0.9 Altair completes the triangle. Altair rises nearly an hour after sunset, so the best view will be around midnight when the triangle is high in the east.

7 Jun    In early evening, the Big Dipper is high in the north with its handle pointing up. Find Polaris by following a line to the lower right from the pointer stars at the far end of the dipper. Polaris is the last star in the handle of the Little Dipper. Now find the brightest star of the Little Dipper, magnitude 2.2 Kochab, 1½ fist widths above or to the upper right of Polaris, depending on when you are looking.

8 Jun    New moon at 1556 UT 

USPS Star Calendar for 26 May-1 June 19 May 2013

Posted by amedalen in June 2013, May 2013.
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26 May    Tonight Jupiter slips lower and Mercury climbs higher; within 3 degrees of each other, they form a tight triangle with Venus. By tomorrow morning, they fit within a 2.43-degree diameter circle. The moon is at perigee, 56.19 Earth-radii, or 358,000 kilometers, away. Perigee occurs 21 hours after the full moon, so expect extreme tides.

27 May    Jupiter and Venus stand side by side ½ finger-width apart tonight. Mercury has climbed to the upper right. Before dawn, the moon stands above the dome of the Teapot constellation, Sagittarius, low in the southwest.

28 May    Jupiter slips to Venus’ lower left, and Mercury continues to climb.

29 May    Before dawn, look 2½ fist-widths to the moon’s upper right to find magnitude 0.9 Altair.

30 May    Mercury climbs higher, and Jupiter sinks lower, forming a nearly straight line with Venus 3 finger-widths long.

31 May    Last-quarter moon at 1858 UT

1 Jun    The waning crescent moon rises 4 hours before the sun and is high in the southeast at first light.