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USPS Star Calendar for 4-10 January 28 December 2014

Posted by amedalen in January 2015.
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4 Jan    Earth is at perihelion, 0.98328 AU away from the sun. Compare that to Earth’s distance of 1.01668 AU from the sun at aphelion on 6 July. An astronomical unit, or AU, is about 150,000,000 km or 93,000,000 miles.

5 Jan    As evening passes, it should be easy to spot the Gemini Twins 1 fist-width to the moon’s upper left and Procyon the same distance to the lower right.

6 Jan    High in the east by midnight, Jupiter is about 1 fist-width to the moon’s lower left. Procyon is 1½ fist-widths to the upper right.

7 Jan    By midnight, the moon, Jupiter and Regulus form a tight triangle in the east, with Jupiter 2 finger-widths to the moon’s upper left and Regulus 4 finger-widths to the moon’s lower left. The Big Dipper stands on its handle to the left.

8 Jan    Jupiter is directly above the moon low in the east by midnight, and Regulus is to the moon’s upper left.

9 Jan    The moon forms a nearly straight line with Regulus, 1½ fist-widths above, and Jupiter, less than 1 fist-width beyond.

10 Jan    High in the southwest before dawn, the moon lies between Regulus, 2 fist-widths to the right, and Spica, 3½ fist-widths to the left.

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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.

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 1-7 July 24 June 2012

Posted by amedalen in July 2012.
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1 Jul    Rising 2 hours before sunset, the moon and Antares will be low in the south after sunset with Antares 1 fist-width to the moon’s right. More than 90 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated. The moon is at perigee, 56.81 Earth-radii (362,000 kilometers) away from the earth. Reaching its greatest elongation, 25.7 degrees east of the sun, Mercury is low in the west at nightfall, setting 1½ hours after the sun. With a clear view of the western horizon, you can see it easily as the sky darkens.

2 Jul    Rising an hour before sunset, the moon sits above the dome of the Teapot constellation, Sagittarius, late tonight.

5 Jul    Earth reaches aphelion, its farthest distance from the sun, at 0400 UT. We are almost 5 million kilometers (more than 3 million miles) farther from the sun than at perihelion on 3 Jan.

6 Jul    In the southwest before dawn, the moon is between Altair, 3 fist-widths to the upper right, and Fomalhaut, the same distance to the lower left.

7 Jul    Jupiter, Venus and Aldebaran form a nearly vertical line before dawn, with Jupiter at the top, Venus 2 finger-widths below and Aldebaran another ½ finger-width beyond.

USPS Star Calendar for 3-9 July 26 June 2011

Posted by amedalen in July 2011.
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3 Jul    At dusk, magnitude -0.3 Mercury is 1.5 fist-widths to the moon’s right, and Regulus is the same distance to the upper left.

4 Jul    Earth is at aphelion, its farthest distance from the sun, 1.01674 astronomical units or a little more than 152 million kilometers away, which is nearly 5 million kilometers farther than at perihelion on 3 Jan. Regulus is 3 finger-widths to the moon’s upper right tonight. Ten percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

5 Jul    Regulus is 1.5 fist-widths to the moon’s right tonight.

7 Jul    Tonight the moon forms a triangle with Saturn and Spica. Saturn is less than 1 fist-width to the moon’s upper right, and Spica is about 1 fist-width to the upper left. The moon is at perigee, 57.94 Earth-radii or about 370,000 kilometers away. A little more than one-third of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

8 Jul    Spica is 2 finger-widths to the moon’s upper right this evening. First-quarter moon at 0629 UT

USPS Star Calendar for 4 to 10 July 27 June 2010

Posted by amedalen in July 2010.
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4 Jul
For the next week or so, watch Venus and Regulus grow closer each evening. Last-quarter moon at 1435 UT

6 Jul
Earth is at aphelion, its farthest distance from the sun, about 1.0167 astronomical units away. This is about 3.1 million miles more than the distance at perihelion, Earth’s closest approach to the sun, on 3 Jan.

8 Jul
As the sky darkens, Venus and Regulus stand side by side, separated by 1 finger-width low in the west.

9 Jul
Venus
passes to the upper right of Regulus, separated by 1 degree.

10 Jul
Venus
is now above or to the upper left of Regulus.