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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 29 December-4 January 22 December 2013

Posted by amedalen in December 2013, January 2014.
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29 Dec    The moon is 4 finger-widths to Saturn’s lower left. Less than 20 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

1 Jan    Rising a few minutes after sunset, Jupiter is high in the east by midevening. The Gemini Twins, Pollux and Castor, are less than 1 fist-width to the left, and Orion is about 3 fist-widths to the right. The bright star 2 fist-widths to the lower right is magnitude 0.5 Procyon. The new moon, only 9.8 hours old, is at perigee, 56.02 Earth-radii (357,000 kilometers) away. Check your tide tables.

2 Jan    Occurring a day after the new moon, the Quadrantids meteor shower should be above average and can be viewed over five nights. At its peak from the evening of 2 Jan. to the morning of 3 Jan, you may see 60-200 meteors per hour. For best viewing, choose a dark location after midnight. Meteors can appear anywhere in the sky but will radiate from the constellation Boötes, which rises above the eastern horizon shortly after midnight. This is the only one of the three dominant meteor showers (Quadrantids, Perseids and Geminids) on a moonless night.

4 Jan    At perihelion, Earth makes its closest approach to the sun for the year at 0.98333 AU, or about 91.4 million miles, away. An astronomical unit (92,955,807.3 miles) is the average distance from Earth to 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 20 to 26 February 13 February 2011

Posted by amedalen in February 2011.
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20 Feb    Saturn and the moon rise side by side 3½ hours after sunset. Low in the southwest at dawn tomorrow, Saturn is 4 finger-widths to the moon’s upper right and Spica is 3 finger-widths to the moon’s upper left.

21 Feb    Saturn, Spica and the waning gibbous moon rise one after the other in a straight line late this evening. Arcturus, the brightest star of Boötes, the Herdsman, is 3 fist-widths to the left of Saturn.

22 Feb    Saturn, Spica and the moon are lined up low in the southwest before dawn. Scorpius is far to the lower left. The Big Dipper is to the right with its handle pointing up. Follow the arc of the dipper’s handle to Arcturus and then to Spica. “Arc to Arcturus; speed on to Spica.”

23 Feb    Jupiter and Saturn are in heliocentric opposition, on opposite sides of the sun.

24 Feb    Low in the south at first light, the moon is in the head of the Scorpion, Scorpius. Last-quarter moon at 2326 UT

25 Feb    The red star Antares is 2 finger-widths to the moon’s right this morning.

26 Feb    Sagittarius, the Teapot constellation, is to the lower left of the moon this morning. About one-third of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

USPS Star Calendar for 2 to 8 January 26 December 2010

Posted by amedalen in January 2011.
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2 Jan     Mercury is 2 finger-widths to the thin crescent moon’s upper left low in the southeast just before dawn.

3 Jan     At perihelion, Earth is nearest to the sun for the year. Tonight and tomorrow night when the Quadrantids meteor shower peaks, up to 40 meteors per hour will radiate from the constellation Boötes, which rises low in the east around midnight.

4 Jan     A partial solar eclipse will be visible in most parts of northern Africa, Europe and Asia. New moon at 0903 UT

7 Jan     The waxing crescent moon sets 3½ hours after the sun this evening. Less than 10 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated. The bright “star” 3 fist-widths to the moon’s upper left is magnitude -2.3 Jupiter.

8 Jan     Venus is at its greatest elongation west, 47 degrees from the sun. It rises more than 3½ hours before the sun.