jump to navigation

USPS Star Calendar for 16-22 November 9 November 2014

Posted by amedalen in November 2014.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
1 comment so far

16 Nov    The moon rises early tomorrow morning, so dark skies tonight make exploration a little easier. Look high in the west 3 or 4 hours after sunset. The Summer Triangle, made up of the only first-magnitude stars in the area, dominates the western sky. The brightest, magnitude 0.1 Vega, forms the lower right corner of the triangle. The next brightest, magnitude 0.9 Altair, anchors the lower left corner, a little more than 3 fist-widths to Vega’s left or lower left. Magnitude 1.3 Deneb sits at the triangle’s top, a little more than 2 fist-widths above or to the upper left of Vega.

17 Nov    Only two first-magnitude stars are in the east tonight. The brightest is magnitude 0.2 Capella. Three fist-widths to its lower right is magnitude 1.1 Aldebaran. The moonless sky gives us the perfect chance for a good view of the Pleiades Cluster, the Seven Sisters. With your naked eye, look a little more than 1 fist-width above Aldebaran and see how many of the sisters you can spot. Now look with your binoculars.

19 Nov    Low in the east before dawn, Spica is 1 finger-width below the waning crescent moon, which is only 10 percent illuminated.

20 Nov    Edwin Hubble was born on this day in 1889. Among his greater contributions to astronomy was the confirmation that the Milky Way is just one of billions of galaxies in the visible universe. He also discovered that the universe is expanding in all directions, relative to everything else in the universe. In recognition of his achievements, NASA named its large space telescope for him.

21 Nov    Only one day before new, the moon sets a few minutes after sunset, making for dark skies and good viewing opportunities. About 4 hours after sunset, Orion and Gemini appear above the eastern horizon. To the north, the Big Dipper is just above the horizon. For viewers in southern states, the Big Dipper is below the horizon.

Advertisements

USPS Star Calendar for 10-16 August 3 August 2014

Posted by amedalen in August 2014.
Tags: , , , , , , ,
add a comment

10 Aug    The moon is at perigee, 55.96 Earth-radii (357,000 kilometers) away. The closest perigee of the year occurs less than a half hour before the full moon. Check your tide tables for extreme tides.

11 Aug    The Perseid meteor shower peaks during the next few evenings. Unfortunately, the nearly full moon will outshine the meteors.

12 Aug    Rising an hour after sunset, the moon is low in the southeast by midnight.

13 Aug    High in the west before dawn, the bright star 6 fist-widths to the moon’s right is magnitude 1.3 Deneb, the brightest star in the constellation Cygnus, the Swan.

15 Aug    Low in the east before dawn, magnitude –3.9 Venus rises 15 minutes before magnitude –1.8 Jupiter, 1 finger-width away.

16 Aug    Venus and Jupiter rise 10 minutes apart this morning and are separated by less than a finger-width.

USPS Star Calendar for 15-21 June 8 June 2014

Posted by amedalen in June 2014.
Tags: , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

15 Jun    The bright star 2½ fist-widths above the moon this morning is magnitude 0.9 Altair. The moon is at perigee, 56.77 Earth-radii (362,000 kilometers) away.

17 Jun    In the predawn sky, the moon lies between Altair, 3 fist-widths to the upper right, and magnitude 1.3 Fomalhaut, 2½ fist-widths to the lower left.

18 Jun    The moon rises a little after midnight this morning and is high in the south at first light.

19 Jun    The last-quarter moon rises well after midnight, making for good stargazing for the next few evenings. The Big Dipper is high in the northwest with its handle pointing straight up. Rotating counter-clockwise as the evening passes, it is near the northern horizon before first light tomorrow.

20 Jun    This is the perfect time to spot the Summer Triangle in the east about an hour after sunset. The triangle’s three stars—magnitudes 0.9 Altair, 1.3 Deneb and -0.1 Vega—are the brightest in the area. Start with the highest and brightest of the three, Vega. Measure a little more than 2 fist-widths to the lower left to Deneb.The last star, Altair, is nearly 4 fist-widths to Deneb’s lower right.

21 Jun    The summer solstice occurs at 1051 UT when the sun reaches its farthest point north in the sky.

USPS Star Calendar for 18-24 August 11 August 2013

Posted by amedalen in August 2013.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

19 Aug    The waxing gibbous moon is at perigee, 56.8 Earth-radii (225,000 miles) away.

21 Aug    Full moon at 0145 UT

22 Aug    Rising less than an hour after sunset, the moon is high in the southwest at midnight. Lean back and look straight up; the two bright stars directly overhead are magnitude 0.1 Vega in the constellation Lyra, the Lyre, and magnitude 1.3 Deneb in the constellation Cygnus, the Swan. Both are part of the Summer Triangle.

24 Aug    Rising two hours after sunset, the waxing gibbous moon is low in the east by midnight. The brightest nearby stars are magnitude 2.1 Alpheratz 3 fist-widths above the moon, magnitude 2.2 Hamal 1½ fist-widths to the left and magnitude 2.3 Almach 3 fist-widths to the upper left. The slightly brighter star 1½ fist-widths to the lower left of Almach is magnitude 1.9 Mirfak in the constellation Perseus, the Hero.

USPS Star Calendar for 2-8 June 26 May 2013

Posted by amedalen in June 2013.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

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 

USPS Star Calendar for 16-22 December 9 December 2012

Posted by amedalen in December 2012.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

16 Dec    In the southwest at dusk, the thin waxing crescent moon is about 10 percent illuminated.

18 Dec    High in the southwest early tonight, magnitude 1.3 Deneb in the constellation Cygnus, the Swan, is more than 5 fist-widths to the moon’s upper right. In one story, Orpheus, who sang and played his lyre so beautifully that wild animals and trees came to hear him, was transformed into a Swan after his death and placed next to his lyre, Lyra.

20 Dec    The Great Square of Pegasus is above the first-quarter moon at dusk.

21 Dec    High in the south tonight, the moon is surrounded by many lower-magnitude stars. About 3 hours after sunset, magnitude 2.1 Alpheratz is a little more than 2 fist-widths to the moon’s upper right. Magnitude 2.0 Mira is 2 fist-widths to the moon’s lower left. Magnitude 2.2 Deneb Kaitos is 3 fist-widths below the moon, and magnitude 2.2 Hamal is 1½ fist-widths to the moon’s upper left. Today marks the first day of winter, the winter solstice, as the sun reaches its farthest distance below the celestial equator. This is the last day of the 13th baktun in the Long Count of the Mayan Calendar. The official end is 1111 UT.

22 Dec    Today is the first day of the 14th baktun in the Long Count of the Mayan Calendar.

USPS Star Calendar for 2-8 December 25 November 2012

Posted by amedalen in December 2012.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

2 Dec    By midnight, the moon sits high in the east with magnitude 0.5 Procyon 1 fist-width to the right, the Gemini Twins 1½ fist-widths to the upper left, and the Big Dipper standing on its handle far to the lower left.

3 Dec    Jupiter is at opposition (on the opposite side of the earth from the sun).

4 Dec    Late tonight, Regulus is nearly 3 finger-widths to the waning gibbous moon’s left. About 75 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated. Mercury reaches its greatest elongation 20.5 degrees west of the sun, which means it sets nearly an hour after the sun.

5 Dec    High in the south before dawn, Regulus is 2 finger-widths above the moon. Using binoculars, see if you can spot the two stars between them, magnitude 4.9 pi Leonis and magnitude 4.6 31 Leonis

6 Dec    With the moon rising well after midnight, tonight’s dark skies make for good stargazing. At dusk, look for Cygnus, the Swan, high in the west at dusk. First find the Summer Triangle’s three bright stars: Altair at the lower left corner, Vega at the lower right corner, and Deneb at the top. Magnitude 2.3 Sadr is 3 finger-widths to Deneb’s lower left. The two stars 4 finger-widths at right angles from Sadr make up the wings. Continuing in a straight line from Deneb through Sadr another 1½ fist-widths completes the neck and head of the Swan.

8 Dec    During the next few days, look to the southeast before dawn as the moon passes by one star and three planets: Spica, Saturn, Venus and Mercury. This morning, the moon, the star and the planets line up from the upper right to the lower left. From the moon, measure 1 fist-width to the lower left to magnitude 1.2 Spica. Moving another fist-width to the lower left takes us to magnitude 0.6 Saturn. One more fist-width brings us to magnitude -4.0 Venus. Finally, 3 finger-widths beyond Venus is magnitude -0.5 Mercury.

USPS Star Calendar for 21-27 October 14 October 2012

Posted by amedalen in October 2012.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

21 Oct    At evening twilight, magnitude 0.9 Altair, in the Summer Triangle, is 2½ fist-widths above the waxing gibbous moon low in the south. The triangle’s other stars are magnitude 0.1 Vega, 3 fist-widths to Altair’s upper right, and magnitude 1.3 Deneb, 2 fist-widths to Vega’s upper left or nearly overhead.

22 Oct    In the south at sunset, magnitude 0.9 Altair—in the constellation Aquila, the Eagle—is 2½ fist-widths to the first-quarter moon’s upper right. In Greek mythology, the eagle Aquila carried Zeus’ thunderbolts.

23 Oct    High in the south at sunset, the waxing crescent moon lies between two third-magnitude stars, so get out your binoculars. Magnitude 3.1 Sadalsuud in Aquarius, the Water Bearer, is 2 finger-widths above the moon, and magnitude 3.0 Deneb Algedi—in the constellation Capricornus, the Sea Goat—is little more than 3 finger-widths below the moon.

25 Oct    Saturn, in conjunction with the sun, passes behind it.

26 Oct    Mercury reaches its greatest elongation east, 24.1 degrees from the sun. Look quickly at dusk to spy Mercury before it slips below the western horizon.

27 Oct    Rising less than an hour before sunset, the nearly full moon is high in the east as the stars appear. Directly above the moon, the Great Square of Pegasus includes three stars from the constellation Pegasus and one borrowed from neighboring Andromeda. The nearest star of the square is magnitude 2.9 Algenib, 1 fist-width above the moon. Magnitude 2.6 Markab is 1½ fist-widths to the upper right, and magnitude 2.6 Scheat is 1½ fist-widths to the upper left. Andromeda’s magnitude 2.1 Alpheratz, 1½ fist-widths to the lower left, completes the square.

USPS Star Calendar for 26 August-1 September 19 August 2012

Posted by amedalen in August 2012, September 2012.
Tags: , , , , , , ,
add a comment

26 Aug    The moon is above the dome of Sagittarius tonight.

28 Aug    Sketch the Summer Triangle low in the southeast at dusk. Look 2½ fist-widths above the moon to magnitude 0.9 Altair, continue 3½ fist-widths in a straight line to magnitude 0.1 Vega, and 2½ fist-widths to the lower left to magnitude 1.3 Deneb.

29 Aug    High in the south at midnight, the moon is midway between Altair, 3 fist-widths to the upper right, and Fomalhaut, the same distance to the lower left.

31 Aug    The second full moon of the month, which is rare, is called a Blue Moon.

1 Sep    The equation of time is zero. Early this morning, Venus passes between Pollux, 4 finger-widths to the upper left, and Procyon, a little more than 1 fist-width to the lower right.

USPS Star Calendar for 12-18 August 5 August 2012

Posted by amedalen in August 2012.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

12 Aug    In the east before dawn, the moon is between magnitude -2.2 Jupiter, 4 finger-widths to the upper right, and magnitude -4.3 Venus, 1½ fist-widths to the lower left. Orion is to the lower right, and the bright star 2½ fist-widths to the upper left is magnitude 0.2 Capella. The dimmer star between them is magnitude 1.8 Elnath.

13 Aug    Low in the east before dawn, the moon is less than 2 finger-widths to Venus’ upper right. Only 20 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated. Look southwest at dusk to see Saturn, Mars and Spica line up within 2 finger-widths of one another. Magnitude 0.2 Saturn is on the top, magnitude 1.1 Mars is in the middle, and magnitude 1.2 Spica is on the bottom.

14 Aug    Although Saturn, Mars and Spica are still in line tonight, Mars has moved to the left and will continue to do so, leaving Saturn and Spica behind.

15 Aug    Along the eastern horizon an hour before sunrise, magnitude 0.2 Mercury is 4 fist-widths to the lower left of the thin waning crescent moon. Look quickly because the ever-elusive Mercury fades from view as the sky brightens.

16 Aug    Mercury reaches its greatest elongation west, 18.7 degrees from the sun. Mercury rises 1½ hours before the sun and is visible before sunrise with a clear view of the eastern horizon. Rising a half hour after Mercury, the thin waning crescent is 3 finger-widths below.

17 Aug    Tonight’s new moon is perfect for stargazing. With binoculars, find Mars, Saturn and Spica near the western horizon at dusk. Moving left (south) to see Scorpius and Sagittarius also hugging the horizon. Continue moving left until you are looking north to the Big Dipper. Follow the dipper’s pointer stars to Cassiopeia, the Lazy W constellation.

18 Aug    Now that you have found Cassiopeia, look 3 fist-widths to the upper right to magnitude 1.3 Deneb, 2 fist-widths above Deneb to magnitude 0.1 Vega, and 3½ fist-widths to Vega’s lower right to magnitude 0.9 Altair. These three stars form the Summer Triangle.