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USPS Star Calendar for 26 April-2 May 19 April 2015

Posted by amedalen in April 2015, May 2015.
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27 Apr    High in the south at dusk, Regulus is 2 finger-widths to the moon’s upper left and moving to the moon’s upper right.

28 Apr    Jupiter, Regulus, the moon and Spica form a nearly straight line in the southeast for several days. Tonight the moon is 1 fist-width to Regulus’ lower left and 4 fist-widths to Spica’s upper right.

29 Apr    The moon is midway between Regulus and Spica.

30 Apr    The moon is 1½ fist-widths to Spica’s upper right.

1 May    Tonight the moon is 2 finger-widths above Spica. Bright Arcturus is 3 fist-widths to the moon’s left. The Big Dipper is far to the upper left

2 May    The moon is to Spica’s lower left this evening.

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USPS Star Calendar for 5-11 April 29 March 2015

Posted by amedalen in April 2015.
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5 Apr    Only one day past full, the moon rises 1½ hours after sunset.

7 Apr    Just before midnight, the moon rises less than a half-hour before Saturn.

8 Apr    Low in the west before dawn, the moon and Saturn are in the head of the Scorpion, Scorpius. Saturn is less than a finger-width to the moon’s lower left. Antares is 4 finger-widths to Saturn’s lower left.

10 Apr    This morning the moon is above the dome of the Teapot constellation, Sagittarius. Mercury is in superior conjunction, passing on the opposite side of the sun as seen from Earth.

11 Apr    With the moon rising in the early morning, we have dark evening skies for stargazing. High in the northeast, the Big Dipper is nearly upside down. Follow the pointer stars at the end of the handle 3 fist-widths to the lower left to Polaris, the North Star. Then follow the handle’s arc 3 fist-widths to the lower right to Arcturus. Continue along the arc another 3 fist-widths to Spica. “Arc to Arcturus, then speed on to Spica.”

USPS Star Calendar for 8-14 March 11 March 2015

Posted by amedalen in March 2015.
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8 Mar    The bright star 2 finger-widths to the moon’s right is Spica, normally found by beginning with the Big Dipper, arcing to Arcturus and speeding on to Spica. Working backward from Spica, look 3 fist-widths to the upper left to Arcturus in the constellation Boötes, the Herdsman. Measure another 3 fist-widths to Arcturus’ upper left to the last star in the dipper’s handle, Alkaid. The Big Dipper’s bowl is to the upper left. Can you find Polaris? How about Cassiopeia? Daylight saving time begins at 0200. Spring forward.

10 Mar    Tonight the moon rises just after midnight. It is low in the south before first light, with Saturn 1 fist-width to the left.

12 Mar    Just before dawn, Saturn is 1 finger-width to the moon’s lower right, and Antares is 4 finger-widths to its lower left.

14 Mar  The moon is above the dome of the Teapot in the constellation Sagittarius.

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 15-21 December 8 December 2013

Posted by amedalen in December 2013.
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15 Dec    Aldebaran is 1 finger-width below the moon tonight.

17 Dec    The last full moon of the year rises a half-hour after sunset, followed less than an hour later by Jupiter to the lower left. Orion is to the right.

18 Dec    This evening, Jupiter and the moon rise side by side an hour and a half after sunset.

19 Dec    Jupiter stands directly above the moon in the early evening. Magnitude 0.5 Procyon is 1 fist-width to the moon’s lower right. The moon is at apogee, 63.70 Earth-radii (406,000 kilometers) away.

21 Dec    Winter arrives in the Northern Hemisphere at 1711 UT as the sun reaches its farthest point south of the celestial equator.

USPS Star Calendar for 27 October-2 November 20 October 2013

Posted by amedalen in November 2013, October 2013.
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28 Oct    High in the south before first light, the waning crescent moon lies between Procyon, 3 fist-widths to the upper right, and Regulus, 4 finger-widths to the lower left. Mars is 4 finger-widths to Regulus’ lower left.

29 Oct    Mars, Regulus and the moon form a tight triangle before dawn in the east.

1 Nov     The thin waning crescent moon rises 2 hours before the sun this morning. Spica rises later, directly below the moon. Arcturus is more than 3 fist-widths to the left. The Big Dipper stands on its handle to Arcturus’ upper left. Venus reaches its greatest elongation, 47.1 degrees east of the sun.

USPS Star Calendar for 1-7 September 25 August 2013

Posted by amedalen in September 2013.
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1 Sep    In the east before dawn, the waning crescent moon stands between the Gemini Twins, 1 fist-width to the upper left, and Procyon, the same distance to the lower right. Brilliant magnitude –2.0 Jupiter is 1 fist-width directly above the moon. Less than 20 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated. The equation of time is zero.

2 Sep    Mars is 3 finger-widths to the slivered moon’s upper left before dawn.

3 Sep    Only two days from new, the moon, about 5 percent illuminated, rises less than two hours before the sun.

5 Sep    Low in the west at dusk, the first light you see is magnitude –4.0 Venus, followed by magnitude 0.7 Saturn, 1 fist-width to the upper left, and magnitude 1.2 Spica, less than 1 finger-width to Venus’ lower left. New moon at 1136 UT

7 Sep    Only a few days old, the moon sets soon after the sun, making stargazing easier. Ursa Major, the Big Dipper, sits a little left of north with its handle pointing to the upper left. The pointer stars at the end of the bucket point toward Polaris, less than 3 fist-widths to the upper right. Looking to the right (east), you can easily make out Cassiopeia, the Lazy W constellation. Turning farther right, now facing south, you can see the Summer Triangle to Cassiopeia’s upper right. Sagittarius and Scorpius are easy to spot near the horizon. Finishing the turn, now facing west, you can see Arcturus, the bright star in the middle of the sky.

USPS Star Calendar for 4-10 August 28 July 2013

Posted by amedalen in August 2013.
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4 Aug     This morning, the moon slips past both Jupiter and Mars, now 3 finger-widths to the moon’s upper left. Magnitude –0.6 Mercury is 1 fist-width to Mars’ lower left. The moon is less than 10 percent illuminated.

5 Aug    Spotting a sliver of moon through your binoculars will be harder this morning as the moon rises only an hour before the sun. Less than 5 percent of the moon is illuminated.

6 Aug    New moon at 2151 UT

7 Aug    The moon sets within a few minutes of the sun, giving us dark evening skies for the next few evenings. Beginning at dusk, look for magnitude –4.0 Venus near the western horizon. Next, look for magnitude 0.2 Arcturus high to the upper left, more than 4 fist-widths from Venus. Magnitude 0.7 Saturn is to Arcturus’ lower left, and magnitude 1.2 Spica is to Saturn’s lower right.

8 Aug    The Scorpion hugs the southern horizon tonight. Magnitude 1.1 Antares is the constellation’s brightest star. The head and claws extend to the right, and the tail curls to the lower left. Sagittarius is to the left of the tail.

9 Aug    The sun sets an hour before the moon tonight. As the sky darkens, use your binoculars to look for magnitude –4.0 Venus 3 finger-widths to the moon’s upper right. Only 5 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

10 Aug    Farther to the left of Venus, the moon sets more than an hour and a half after the sun.

USPS Star Calendar for 14-20 July 7 July 2013

Posted by amedalen in July 2013.
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14 Jul    Low in the southwest at dusk, the bright star 4 fist-widths above the waxing crescent moon is magnitude 0.2 Arcturus in the constellation Boötes, the Herdsman. The Big Dipper is far to the moon’s upper right. Follow the arc of the dipper’s handle to Arcturus, and continue on until you see magnitude 1.2 Spica.

15 Jul    Tonight the moon passes within ½ finger-width of magnitude 1.2 Spica. Viewers in Hawaii will see the moon occult Spica.

16 Jul    Magnitude 0.6 Saturn is 2 finger-widths to the moon’s upper right tonight. First-quarter moon at 0318 UT

18 Jul    The moon is in the head of Scorpius, the Scorpion, this evening. Magnitude 1.1 Antares, the Heart of the Scorpion, is 3 finger-widths to the lower left.

19 Jul    The waxing gibbous moon rises 3 hours before sunset and is low in the south as the sun sinks below the western horizon. Traveling across the night sky, the moon sets a little more than two hours before sunrise tomorrow. More than 80 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

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