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USPS Star Calendar for 31 March-6 April 26 March 2013

Posted by amedalen in April 2013, March 2013.
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31 Mar    Mercury reaches its greatest elongation west of the sun for the year, at nearly 28 degrees. Rising nearly an hour before the sun, Mercury has not been this far from the sun since 2006. Antares is 3 or 4 finger-widths to the moon’s lower left before dawn in the south. Saturn is more than 2 fist-widths to the left. The moon is at perigee, 367,000 kilometers away.

1 Apr    High in the west at sunset, magnitude -2.1 Jupiter is less than three finger-widths to the upper right of magnitude 1.1 Aldebaran; Orion is a couple of fist-widths to the left. During the month, the distance between Jupiter and Aldebaran increases as Aldebaran drops quickly, leaving Jupiter behind.

2 Apr    Rising 5 hours before the sun, the moon is low in the south at dawn above the dome of the Teapot constellation, Sagittarius.

3 Apr    The last-quarter moon rises more than 4½ hours before the sun.

4 Apr    The moon sets before the sun, making the evenings perfect for stargazing. At dusk look for Orion in the west and brilliant magnitude -2.1 Jupiter 1 fist-width to the right. Magnitude 1.1 Aldebaran is 3 finger-widths to the lower right.

5 Apr    Look to Orion’s upper left tonight to see bright magnitude 0.5 Procyon, 2½ fist-widths to the upper left of Betelgeuse, Orion’s left shoulder. Magnitude -1.59 Sirius, the Dog Star, is 2½ fist-widths below Procyon. Follow a line from Betelgeuse through Procyon to magnitude 1.3 Regulus, 3½ fist-widths beyond Procyon.

6 Apr    The Big Dipper, Ursa Major, stands on its handle high in the east tonight. Follow the handle’s arc 3 fist-widths to the lower right to magnitude 0.2 Arcturus, and another 3 fist-widths to magnitude 1.2 Spica. Late tonight Saturn peeks above the horizon to Spica’s lower left.

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USPS Star Calendar for 24-30 March 17 March 2013

Posted by amedalen in March 2013.
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24 Mar    Regulus is 4 finger-widths to the moon’s upper left at dusk.

25 Mar    By midnight, the moon is high in the south between Regulus, 2 fist-widths to the upper right, and Spica, 3 fist-widths to the lower left. Saturn is 1½ fist-widths beyond Spica.

27 Mar    Full at 0927 UT (0527 EDT), the moon rises a little more than a half hour after sunset.  Rising a few minutes later, Spica is 2 finger-widths to the lower left around midnight. Tonight’s full moon is known as the Worm Moon.

28 Mar    The moon rises several hours after sunset followed a half hour later by Saturn. The pair are low in the southeast at midnight with Saturn 4 finger-widths to the lower left and Spica slightly farther to the upper right. Venus is at superior conjunction, passing on the far side of the sun.

29 Mar    Before dawn in the southeast, Spica is 1 fist-width to the moon’s lower right near the horizon, and Saturn is 3 finger-widths above the moon.

USPS Star Calendar for 17-23 March 10 March 2013

Posted by amedalen in March 2013.
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17 Mar    The waxing crescent moon lies between magnitude -2.2 Jupiter, less than 1 finger-width to the upper right, and magnitude 1.1 Aldebaran, less than 2 finger-widths to the lower left.

18 Mar    The moon is midway between magnitude 0.2 Capella, 2½ fist-widths to the upper right, and magnitude 0.3 Rigel, to the lower left. Several other bright first-magnitude stars are nearby tonight: magnitude 0.6 Betelgeuse 1½ fist-widths to the left, magnitude 1.1 Aldebaran 1 fist-width below, magnitude 0.5 Procyon 3½ fist-widths to the upper left.

19 Mar    The first-quarter moon is at apogee, 63.38 earth-radii or 404,000 kilometers away.

20 Mar    The vernal equinox occurs at 1102 UT as the sun crosses the celestial equator, headed north, marking the first day of spring for the northern hemisphere, when day and night are approximately equal all over the world. “Equinox” comes to us from the Latin, meaning “equal night.” The precise date of equal day and night depends on your location, however. If you are at 60 degrees north latitude, day and night are equal on 18 March. If you are between 40 and 55 degrees north latitude, your date is 17 March. Between 30 and 35 degrees, it’s 16 March. The date becomes earlier the closer you are to the equator.

21 Mar    High in the south at dusk, Orion is far to the waxing gibbous moon’s lower right, while the Gemini Twins are to the upper left and Procyon is to the lower left. The Big Dipper stands on its handle high in the northwest.

22 Mar    The moon hangs high in the south as the sky darkens this evening. Procyon is 1 fist-width to the lower left, and the Gemini Twins are the same distance above. Far to the lower left, Regulus is the brightest object in that area of sky.

23 Mar    Rising 3½ hours before sunset, the moon is high in the southeast at dusk. Regulus is 4 finger-widths to the left, and the Big Dipper stands on its handle to the far left. As evening passes, the Big Dipper rotates counter-clockwise and is upside-down, high in the north at midnight.

USPS Star Calendar for 10-16 March 3 March 2013

Posted by amedalen in March 2013.
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10 Mar    Turn your clocks forward. Daylight saving time begins at 0200. Officially, the clock hour 0200 to 0300 does not exist.

11 Mar    Tonight’s new moon will not interfere with stargazing.

13 Mar    The moon sets a little more than an hour after the sun.

14 Mar    Low in the west at dusk, Hamal and Sheratan in the constellation Aries, the Ram, are less than 1 fist-width to the thin waxing crescent moon’s upper right. Jupiter stands high to the upper left. The moon is less than 10 percent illuminated.

16 Mar    The Pleiades Cluster is 3 finger-widths to the moon’s upper right, and Jupiter is 1 fist-width to its upper left high in the west after sunset. The moon is less than one-third illuminated.

USPS Star Calendar for 3-9 March 24 February 2013

Posted by amedalen in March 2013.
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4 Mar    The last-quarter moon is above Antares before dawn.

5 Mar    The moon is at perigee, 58.01 earth-radii or 370,000 kilometers away.

6 Mar    The waning crescent moon rises 4 hours before the sun and is low in the south at dawn. Sagittarius is to the moon’s lower right. About a third of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

7 Mar    With the moon setting 4 hours before the sun, the dark sky will be perfect for stargazing. Start in the north with the Big Dipper, Ursa Major, the Great Bear. The handle arcs down toward the horizon. Follow the pointer stars at the far end of the dipper 3 fist-widths left to Polaris, the North Star. Another 3 fist-widths beyond Polaris is the Lazy W constellation, Cassiopeia, upside down in the early evening.

8 Mar    Now that you’ve found Polaris, use binoculars to see if you can make out the Little Dipper, Ursa Minor, the Little Bear. Polaris represents the end of the handle or the bear’s tail. This evening the handle extends to the lower right, arcing slightly upward, with the bowl parallel to the horizon. You need a dark sky to see the entire dipper, as only two stars are second magnitude and one is third magnitude. The others are fourth and fifth magnitude.

USPS Star Calendar for 24 February-2 March 17 February 2013

Posted by amedalen in February 2013, March 2013.
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24 Feb    The moon and Regulus rise less than an hour before sunset and are high in the south by midnight.

25 Feb    Regulus is a little more than 1 fist-width to the full moon’s upper right high in the south by midnight. The Big Dipper is nearly upside down, far to the left. Follow the arc of the dipper’s handle 3 fist-widths to Arcturus and another 3 fist-widths to Spica: Arc to Arcturus and speed on to Spica. Full at 2026 UT, tonight’s moon is called the Snow Moon.

26 Feb    The moon rises 1½ hours after sunset. Only a day past full, it appears full.

27 Feb    Rising about 2 hours after sunset, the moon is low in the southeast by midnight. Sirius is 1 fist-width to the lower left, and Saturn is 2 fist-widths beyond Sirius.

28 Feb    The moon rises 3½ hours after sunset, and Sirius will be so close to the moon’s left that you will need binoculars to see it.

1 Mar    The moon rises late this evening followed a few minutes later by Saturn, 2 finger-widths to the left.

2 Mar    Saturn is 2 finger-widths above the moon low in the southwest before dawn.