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USPS Star Calendar for 31 August-6 September 24 August 2014

Posted by amedalen in August 2014, September 2014.
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31 Aug    The moon joins Saturn and Mars tonight. Saturn is 1 finger-width to the moon’s right, and Mars is 1½ finger-widths to the lower left. The moon is about 25 percent illuminated.

1 Sep    The moon is in the head of the Scorpion this evening. Antares, the Scorpion’s heart, is 1 fist-width to the lower left. Mars and Saturn are 1 fist-width to the lower right.

2 Sep    The first-quarter moon is low in the south at sunset. Antares is 1 fist-width to the lower right, and Sagittarius, the Teapot constellation, is to the lower left.

3 Sep    The waxing gibbous moon is 1 fist-width above the Teapot’s dome tonight.

5 Sep    Magnitude –3.9 Venus passes within 0.73 degrees of magnitude 1.3 Regulus low in the east before first light. They should be visible with binoculars after Venus rises, an hour before the sun.

6 Sep    As soon as the sky darkens tonight, look 3 fist-widths above or to the upper right of the moon for magnitude 0.9 Altair, in the constellation Aquila, the Eagle that carried thunderbolts for Zeus. About 85 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

 

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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 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 22-28 June 15 June 2014

Posted by amedalen in June 2014.
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23 Jun    The moon rises 2½ hours before the sun this morning and is followed 40 minutes later by magnitude -3.9 Venus about 1 fist-width to the lower left. The Pleiades Cluster is 3 finger-widths to Venus’ upper left.

24 Jun    The moon and Venus rise together this morning, less than 2 hours before the sun. The moon is only 1 finger-width to Venus’ lower right. The moon is only 10 percent illuminated.

25 Jun    The moon rises just before the sun for the next few days, giving us dark evenings for stargazing. Let’s look at some of the night sky’s less obvious features. Start in the west with the constellation Leo, the Lion, whose brightest star, magnitude 1.3 Regulus, is easy to spot. How many of the other stars can you see with your  binoculars? Most are third magnitude and dimmer except for one second-magnitude star, magnitude 2.2 Denebola, 2½ fist-widths to Regulus’ upper left.

26 Jun    Look high overhead tonight. Find Arcturus by following the arc of the Big Dipper’s handle. Arcturus is the brightest star of the constellation Boötes, the Herdsman. Many believe that Boötes looks more like a kite. None of the stars are brighter than third magnitude.

27 Jun    Turning to the south, Scorpius, the Scorpion, dominates the area near the horizon. Magnitude 1.1 Antares is its only first-magnitude star.

28 Jun    Low in the west after sunset, magnitude -1.8 Jupiter is 2 finger-widths to the very thin moon’s upper right. The moon sets less than an hour after the sun.

USPS Star Calendar for 8-14 June 4 June 2014

Posted by amedalen in June 2014.
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8 Jun    The moon passes to the left of Spica by less than the width of a finger held at arm’s length.

9 Jun    The moon lies between Spica and Saturn this evening. Saturn is 4 finger-widths to the moon’s lower left.

10 Jun    The moon lies nearly 3 finger-widths to Saturn’s lower left.

11 Jun    The moon, Saturn, Spica, Mars and Regulus form a more or less straight line spanning 10 fist-widths across the southern sky early this evening. Antares, the red heart of the Scorpion, is 4 finger-widths to the moon’s lower right near the southeastern horizon.

12 Jun    Low in the southeast by midnight, Antares is 1½ fist-widths to the moon’s right or lower right. The Teapot constellation, Sagittarius, is to the lower left, near the horizon.

13 Jun    The full moon rises a half-hour after sunset and sets tomorrow morning nearly 2 hours after sunrise. The equation of time is zero. Local mean time and sun time are equal.

USPS Star Calendar for 11-17 May 4 May 2014

Posted by amedalen in May 2014.
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11 May    Low in the east as the sky darkens, the moon lies between Mars, 4 finger-widths to the upper right, and Spica, 3 finger-widths to the lower left.

12 May    The moon passes beyond Spica this evening. Magnitude 0.1 Saturn is nearly 2 fist-widths to the lower left of the moon. 

13 May    Low in the west early this evening, Saturn is only 2 finger-widths to the nearly full moon’s lower left.

14 May    The full moon rises at sunset. Saturn is less than 1 fist-width to its upper right.

15 May    Low in the southeast before first light, Saturn is 1 fist-width to the moon’s lower right and Antares, the heart of Scorpius, is about 4 finger-widths to the lower left, just above the horizon.

17 May    Low in the southwest before first light, the moon is just above the Teapot constellation, Sagittarius. The moon sets less than 3 hours after sunrise.

USPS Star Calendar for 13-19 April 6 April 2014

Posted by amedalen in April 2014.
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13 Apr    High in the southwest by late evening, Mars is 3 finger-widths to the moon’s lower left, and Spica is 4 finger-widths below Mars.

14 Apr    Only 0.618 AU (92.4 million kilometers) away, Mars makes its closest approach to Earth since January 2008. By midnight, Spica and the moon are high in the southwest, less than ½ finger-width apart.

15 Apr    During April’s full moon, North America will see a total lunar eclipse beginning at about 0200 EDT. Totality begins an hour later and lasts 1 hour and 20 minutes. The moon completely leaves Earth’s umbra at 0533 EDT.

16 Apr    Low in the east at midnight, Saturn is ½ finger-width to the moon’s left. The nearly full moon will likely outshine Saturn, so get out your binoculars. At the southern tip of South America, the moon occults Saturn tomorrow morning.

17 Apr    Saturn stands 1 finger-width to the moon’s right before dawn.

18 Apr    Low in the south before dawn, magnitude 1.1 Antares is 3 finger-widths to the moon’s lower left and Saturn is 1½ fist-widths to the lower right.

USPS Star Calendar for 16-22 March 9 March 2014

Posted by amedalen in March 2014.
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16 Mar    The full moon rises two hours before magnitude 0.9 Mars. Magnitude 1.2 Spica rises at the same time as Mars, 2½ finger-widths to the right.

17 Mar    The moon rises less than an hour before Mars and Spica this evening.

18 Mar    Tonight Mars and Spica rise less than 15 minutes before the moon. They form a tight triangle that you can cover with two fingers held at arm’s length.

19 Mar    The moon rises more than three hours after sunset. Saturn follows an hour later.

20 Mar    The vernal equinox occurs at 1657 UT as the sun crosses the celestial equator into the Northern Hemisphere, resulting in nearly equal amounts of day and night throughout the world. This marks the first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere and the first day of fall in the Southern Hemisphere. Late tonight, Saturn rises less than 10 minutes before the moon, separated by less than 1 finger-width. The moon is low in the south before dawn with Mars nearly 2 fist-widths to the right and Saturn 4 finger-widths to the left.

21 Mar    Saturn is 2 finger-widths to the moon’s right this morning. Over the next few days, the moon travels the morning sky right to left, from Saturn to Venus.

22 Mar    Antares is 3 finger-widths below the moon before dawn. Saturn is nearly 2 fist-widths to the right. Venus is far to the lower left.

USPS Star Calendar for 16-22 February 9 February 2014

Posted by amedalen in February 2014.
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16 Feb    High in the southwest at midnight, Regulus is more than 2 fist-widths to the moon’s upper right; Spica and Mars are 3 fist-widths to the lower left just above the horizon.

18 Feb    The moon rises four hours after sunset; Spica and Mars follow a half hour later. By midnight, the trio remains low in the eastern sky.

19 Feb    The moon, Spica and Mars are low in the southwest before first light. Spica is 1 finger-width to the moon’s left, and Mars is 3 finger-widths to its upper left.

20 Feb    Three planets—Mars, Saturn and Venus—are visible in the pre-dawn sky, and the moon passes all three in the next few days. Yesterday, the moon was 3 finger-widths to Mars’ lower right. This morning, it is 4 finger-widths to Mars’ lower left. Saturn is nearly 2 fist-widths to the moon’s left. Venus is far to the left, near the eastern horizon.

21 Feb    The moon is now a little more than 2 finger-widths to Saturn’s right. Mars is 2 fist-widths to the moon’s right or upper right. Later this afternoon when they are below the horizon, the moon and Saturn will pass within 0.3 degrees.

22 Feb    The last-quarter moon passes to the left of Saturn, and the bright star 1 fist-width to the moon’s lower left is magnitude 1.1 Antares.

USPS Star Calendar for 26 January-1 February 19 January 2014

Posted by amedalen in February 2014, January 2014.
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26 Jan    The waning crescent moon rises four hours before the sun and is low in the south before first light. Antares, the red heart of the Scorpion, is less than 4 finger-widths below. About one-third of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

28 Jan    The thin waning crescent moon rises less than a half hour before Venus this morning. The sun follows less than two hours later. Little more than 10 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

30 Jan    The moon is at perigee, 56.05 Earth-radii (357,000 kilometers) away. With the new moon occurring less than 12 hours after perigee, we can expect tidal extremes.

31 Jan    Mercury reaches its greatest elongation east of the sun, 18.3 degrees, and is visible low in the west at dusk. Using binoculars, you may be able to catch a glimpse of the thin crescent moon to Mercury’s lower right.

1 Feb     The thin waxing crescent moon sets two and a half hours after the sun. With your binoculars, try to spot Mercury 1 fist-width below the moon.