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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 2-8 November 26 October 2014

Posted by amedalen in November 2014.
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2 Nov    Turn your clocks back. Daylight saving time ends this morning at 0200. Technically, the clock hour 0100 to 0200 is repeated. Déjà vu.

3 Nov    Magnitude 0.9 Mars is less than ½ finger-width above magnitude 2.9 Kaus Borealis, the uppermost star in the dome of the Teapot constellation, Sagittarius. The moon is at perigee, 57.68 Earth-radii (368,000 kilometers) away.

5 Nov    Mercury and Spica rise side by side, 1½ hours before the sun.

7 Nov    The moon forms a triangle with magnitude 1.1 Aldebaran, less than 1 fist-width to the lower left, and the Pleiades Cluster, the same distance to the upper left.

8 Nov    Aldebaran is 2 finger-widths to the moon’s upper right tonight.

USPS Star Calendar for 9-15 March 2 March 2014

Posted by amedalen in March 2014.
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9 Mar    High in the south at dusk, the moon is between Jupiter, 3 finger-widths to the upper left, and Betelgeuse, a little more than 1 fist-width to the lower right. Daylight saving time begins this morning at 0200. The clock hour of 0200-0300 is lost as we turn our clocks forward. Don’t worry; we’ll get the hour back on 2 Nov. when we turn our clocks back at 0200.

10 Mar    High in the southeast after sunset, the waxing gibbous moon is between Jupiter, 4 finger-widths above, and Procyon, a little more than 1 fist-width below. The trio moves west and is high in the west by midnight, with Jupiter to the lower right and Procyon to the lower left.

11 Mar    The moon is at apogee, 63.63 Earth-radii (405,000 kilometers) away.

12 Mar    Just after sunset, the waxing gibbous moon is high in the southeast midway between Procyon, 2 fist-widths to the upper right, and Regulus, the same distance to the lower left. As the evening passes, Procyon moves to the right and then lower right of the moon and Regulus moves to the left and then upper left.

13 Mar    Regulus is 3 finger-widths to the moon’s lower left in the early evening. Later this evening Regulus moves to the left and then upper left by midnight.

14 Mar    Mercury reaches its greatest elongation,  27.6 degrees west, rising more than an hour before the sun. Regulus is 4 finger-widths above the moon tonight. More than 90 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated. The only part not shining is the thin sliver facing east. 

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 4-10 November 28 October 2012

Posted by amedalen in November 2012.
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4 Nov    High in the south before dawn, Orion is to the far lower right of the waning gibbous moon. The Gemini Twins are to the moon’s upper left, and Procyon is 1½ fist-widths to the lower left. Daylight saving time ends at 0200. Turn your clocks back one hour.

5 Nov    Before dawn, Procyon is 1 fist-width below the moon, and the Gemini Twins are the same distance to the upper right.

7 Nov    Magnitude 1.3 Regulus is 1 fist-width to the moon’s left before dawn, and magnitude 0.5 Procyon is 2½ fist-widths to the right.

8 Nov    Regulus is less than 4 finger-widths above the moon before first light. About 40 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

9 Nov    The moon rises well after midnight, making the next few nights a great opportunity to view stars normally overwhelmed by its glow. Let’s start at Orion, the Mighty Hunter. The three stars that make up Orion’s belt are nearly vertical. Magnitude 1.7 Bellatrix is to the belt’s upper left. From Bellatrix, look 4 finger-widths to the upper right to find the six third- and fourth-magnitude stars that form his curved shield. Look to the belt’s lower right to find the Orion Nebula.

10 Nov    From Orion, look up to find magnitude 1.1 Aldebaran this evening. Brilliant magnitude -2.8 Jupiter lingers to the left. Using binoculars, explore the area above and to the right of Aldebaran. You should be able to make out at least a half dozen fourth-magnitude stars.

USPS Star Calendar for 11-17 March 4 March 2012

Posted by amedalen in March 2012.
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11 Mar    Venus is less than 2 finger-widths to Jupiter’s lower right tonight. Daylight saving time begins at 0200.

12 Mar    Tonight Venus and Jupiter stand side by side only about 3 degrees, 1½ finger-widths, apart. In the coming days, Venus climbs high, leaving Jupiter behind.

13 Mar    Low in the south before dawn, the moon is in the head of the Scorpion constellation, Scorpius. About two-thirds of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

14 Mar    Venus is 1½ finger-widths to Jupiter’s upper right.

15 Mar    Low in the south before dawn, the moon is just above the dome of the teapot constellation, Sagittarius. Beware the Ides of March, a seer warned Julius Caesar; he was assassinated on this day in 44 BC.

17 Mar    Continuing to climb away from Jupiter, Venus is a little more than 2 finger-widths to the upper right.

USPS Star Calendar for 6-12 November 30 October 2011

Posted by amedalen in November 2011.
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6 Nov    Daylight saving time ends. Turn your clocks back 1 hour to standard time. Officially, the clock hour 0100 to 0200 is repeated.

7 Nov    During the next few evenings, the moon sweeps past magnitude -2.9 Jupiter. Tonight, the moon rises 2 hours before sunset, followed an hour later by Jupiter. Several hours after sunset, Jupiter is 2 fist-widths to the moon’s lower left high in the southeast. Nearly 90 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

8 Nov    Rising 45 minutes after the moon, Jupiter is 4 finger-widths to the lower left tonight. The moon is at apogee, 63.68 Earth-radii, or 406,000 kilometers, away.

9 Nov    Jupiter and the moon rise less than an hour before sunset and are 3 finger-widths apart at dusk. By midnight, Jupiter is to the moon’s lower right high in the south.

10 Nov    Just before dawn, Jupiter is 1 fist-width below the moon low in the west. Jupiter rises a half hour before the moon tonight. Late tonight, Jupiter is 1.5 fist-widths to the moon’s upper right high in the southeast. Full moon at 2016 UT

11 Nov    The Pleiades Cluster is just above the moon this evening, and Aldebaran is 4 finger-widths below. Jupiter is nearly 3 fist-widths to the upper right.

12 Nov    The moon and Aldebaran rise an hour after sunset. Aldebaran is 3 finger-widths to the moon’s right or upper right.

USPS Star Calendar for 13 to 19 March 6 March 2011

Posted by amedalen in March 2011.
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13 Mar    Using your binoculars, measure 1 finger-width to the moon’s lower right to find magnitude 3.2 mu Geminorum and 3 finger-widths to the moon’s lower left to find magnitude 1.9 Alhena, both in the constellation Gemini. Daylight saving time begins in most of the United States at 0200 as clocks are set one hour forward.

14 Mar    Procyon is a little more than 1 fist-width to the moon’s lower left tonight. The Gemini Twins are less than 1 fist-width above the moon. Mercury is 1 finger-width to Jupiter’s lower right low in the west at dusk.

15 Mar    Magnitude -1.1 Mercury is less than 1 finger-width to the upper right of magnitude -2.1 Jupiter at dusk. Today marks the Ides of March, when Julius Caesar was assassinated.

16 Mar    Tonight, Regulus is less than 1 fist-width to the moon’s lower left, and magnitude 2.2 Alphard is 2 fist-widths to the moon’s lower right.

17 Mar    Regulus is 3 finger-widths above the moon tonight. About 90 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated. Today is St. Patrick’s Day.

19 Mar    Rising a half-hour after sunset, the full moon is followed by Saturn 1 fist-width to the lower left. Spica is 1 fist-width below Saturn, and Arcturus is 3 fist-widths to Saturn’s left. The moon is at perigee, less than 221,830 miles or 55.91 Earth-radii away. This is the moon’s closest approach of the year. Perigee occurs less than 1 hour after the full moon, so expect tidal extremes. Full Worm Moon at 1810 UT

USPS Star Calendar for 7 to 13 November 31 October 2010

Posted by amedalen in November 2010.
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7 Nov
Look low in the west at dusk to see the moon between magnitude 1.4 Mars, 1 finger-width to the upper right, and magnitude 1.1 Antares, less than 1 finger-width to the lower left. But look quickly, because they set only an hour after the sun. Compare the color of Mars and its rival, Antares, the heart of the Scorpion. Daylight saving time ends this morning. Use binoculars.

9 Nov
The waxing crescent moon is just above the dome of the Teapot constellation, Sagittarius.

10 Nov
In the eastern sky, magnitude -4.4 Venus is high enough to be easily visible before sunrise. Magnitude 1.2 Spica is 2 finger-widths to its upper right. Use binoculars.

13 Nov
Look high in the south at dusk to spot magnitude 3.1 Sadalsuud, 2 to 3 finger-widths to the moon’s upper right. Use binoculars to find magnitude 4.8 xi Aquarii midway between them. Then look 3 finger-widths below the moon to see magnitude 3.0 Deneb Algedi. First-quarter moon at 1639 UT. Use binoculars.

USPS Star Calendar for 14 to 20 March 7 March 2010

Posted by amedalen in March 2010.
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14 Mar
Daylight saving time. Most of us set our clocks ahead one hour at 0200, when the time jumps forward to 0300. Officially there is no clock hour 0200 to 0300. The change is not made in American Samoa, Hawaii, Arizona (except the Navajo reservation), Saskatchewan, parts of British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and most countries closer to the equator than Mexico. Europe makes the change the last Sunday in March.

15 Mar
The Ides of March mark the day of Julius Caesar’s assassination. New moon at 2102 UT

16 Mar
The thin crescent moon sits low in the west at dusk, and magnitude -3.9 Venus is 3 finger-widths to its left. Use your binoculars.

17 Mar
It’s St. Patrick’s Day. Pinch anybody who isn’t wearing green.

20 Mar
The spring equinox occurs this afternoon as the sun crosses the celestial equator into the northern celestial hemisphere. Until 2007, the equinox fell on 20 or 21 March. From now until 2044, it will occur on 20 March. Afterward, it will sometimes occur on 19 March. This evening the moon passes close to the Pleiades. Use your binoculars.