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USPS Star Calendar for 7-13 June 31 May 2015

Posted by amedalen in June 2015.
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7 Jun    High in the south before dawn, the moon is midway between Altair, 3 fist-widths to the upper right, and Fomalhaut, to the lower left.

9 Jun    Before dawn, the first-quarter moon is high in the southeast.

10 Jun    The moon is at perigee, 57.97 Earth-radii (370,000 kilometers) away.

12 Jun    Rising less than three hours before the sun, the waning crescent moon is low in the east before first light. The moon is surrounded by several second-magnitude stars: Mira 1½ fist-widths to the right or lower right, Hamal 1½ fist-widths to the upper left, Alpheratz 3 fist-widths above, and Deneb Kaitos 3 fist-widths to the lower right.

13 Jun    The equation of time is zero. Local mean time and sun time are equal.

USPS Star Calendar for 23-29 November 16 November 2014

Posted by amedalen in November 2014.
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24 Nov    Low in the west at dusk, the waxing crescent moon sets less than 2½ hours after the sun. Mars is nearly 2 fist-widths to the upper left.

25 Nov    Mars is 4 finger-widths to the left of the waxing crescent moon, low in the southwest early tonight. The moon is less than 10 percent illuminated.

26 Nov    Tonight the moon is 1 fist-width above Mars, which sets 2½ hours after the sun and is followed by the moon an hour later.

27 Nov    The moon is at perigee, 57.99 Earth-radii (370,000 kilometers) away.

29 Nov    Fomalhaut is 2½ fist-widths below the first-quarter moon high in the south at dusk.

USPS Star Calendar for 26 October-1 November 19 October 2014

Posted by amedalen in November 2014, October 2014.
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26 Oct    Antares is 4 finger-widths to the moon’s lower left just above the horizon at dusk. The moon is only 5 percent illuminated.

27 Oct    Low in the southwest at sunset, magnitude 0.9 Mars is less than 1 fist-width to the lower left of the thin waxing crescent moon. About 10 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

28 Oct    Mars sets 3 hours after the sun. The moon, now to Mars’ upper left, follows an hour later.

29 Oct    The bright star 2½ fist-widths above the moon at dusk is magnitude 0.9 Altair.

31 Oct    The first-quarter moon lies midway between magnitude 0.9 Altair, 3 fist-widths to the upper right, and magnitude 1.3 Fomalhaut, to the lower left.

1 Nov    In the southeast at sunset, magnitude 1.3 Fomalhaut is 2½ fist-widths below the waxing gibbous moon. Magnitude –0.5 Mercury reaches its greatest elongation of the year, 18.7 degrees west of the sun. Rising more than 1½ hours before the sun, Mercury is followed a few minutes later by magnitude 1.2 Spica to the lower right.

USPS Star Calendar for 28 September-4 October 21 September 2014

Posted by amedalen in October 2014, September 2014.
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28 Sep    The moon is to Saturn’s upper left, Mars is 1 fist-width to the moon’s left, and Antares is a little more than 1 finger-width to Mars’ lower left. Look at them through binoculars to compare the colors of the red planet and the red star.

29 Sep    The moon, Mars and Antares line up this evening. Mars is 3 finger-widths below the moon, and Antares is about 1½ finger-widths below Mars.

30 Sep    Mars and Antares are close together, far to the moon’s lower right.

1 Oct    The first-quarter moon is above the dome of the Teapot constellation, Sagittarius, low in the south tonight. Mars and Antares are 3 fist-widths to the lower right.

2 Oct    The bright star 2½ fist-widths above the moon is magnitude 0.9 Altair.

3 Oct    The waxing gibbous moon lies between Altair, 2½ fist widths to the upper right, and magnitude 1.3 Fomalhaut, 3½ fist-widths to the lower left.

USPS Star Calendar for 13-19 July 6 July 2014

Posted by amedalen in July 2014.
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13 Jul    You’ll need binoculars to watch as Mars passes to Spica’s left. The moon is at perigee, 56.17 Earth-radii (358,000 kilometers) away. Perigee occurs 21 hours after the full moon, so we can expect tidal extremes.

15 Jul    High in the south before dawn, the bright star 2½ fist-widths to the moon’s lower left is magnitude 1.3 Fomalhaut.

16 Jul    The moon rises late tonight, making for dark skies and good stargazing. Soon after sunset look high in the northwest for the Big Dipper with its handle pointing up. As evening passes, it rotates counterclockwise and is just above the northern horizon before dawn.

17 Jul    Look to the Big Dipper’s right tonight and follow the two pointer stars at the end of the dipper 3 fist-widths to the lower right to Polaris, the North Star. Some mistakenly believe Polaris is the brightest star, but at magnitude 2.1, it’s only second magnitude. The brightest star is magnitude –1.59 Sirius, the Dog Star, which is only above the horizon during the day right now.

18 Jul    An hour before dawn, look for several second-magnitude stars within 2 and 2½ fist-widths of the moon: magnitude 2.1 Alpheratz above the moon, magnitude 2.2 Deneb Kaitos to the lower right, magnitude 2.0 Mira slightly closer and to the lower left, and magnitude 2.2 Hamal to the left.

USPS Star Calendar for 15-21 June 8 June 2014

Posted by amedalen in June 2014.
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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 May 11 May 2014

Posted by amedalen in May 2014.
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18 May    The moon is at perigee, 57.56 Earth-radii (367,000 kilometers) away.

20 May    In the south before dawn, the moon is between magnitude 0.9 Altair, 3 fist-widths to the upper right, and magnitude 1.3 Fomalhaut, the same distance to the lower left.

24 May    We may see a good meteor shower from Comet 209P/LINEAR in the early morning hours.

USPS Star Calendar for 8-14 December 1 December 2013

Posted by amedalen in December 2013.
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9 Dec    The first-quarter moon is high in the south at sunset. Look for Fomalhaut 3 fist-widths below, near the horizon.

10 Dec    Venus reaches its brightest for the year at magnitude –4.9.

11 Dec    The waxing gibbous moon spends the evening traversing the southern sky setting well after midnight. About two-thirds of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

14 Dec    Rising an hour before sunset, the moon is low in the southeast in the early evening. The Pleiades Cluster is 3 finger-widths to the upper left and Aldebaran, the eye of Taurus, the Bull, is more than 1 fist-width to the lower left.

USPS Star Calendar for 3-9 November 27 October 2013

Posted by amedalen in November 2013.
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3 Nov    Change your clocks back one hour this morning. The equation of time is at maximum for the year, 16.48 minutes. This means that at noon mean solar time (clock time), the sun has already passed the meridian, 16 minutes earlier. To see today’s total solar eclipse, you will need to go to Africa; however, those in the northeastern U.S. will get a glimpse of a partial eclipse at sunrise.

4 Nov    Only one day old, the moon sets an hour after the sun, making for dark evening skies and good stargazing opportunities. Beginning low in the southwest, brilliant magnitude –4.4 Venus is easy to spot soon after sunset. Don’t wait too long, because it sinks below the horizon 2½ hours later. Look 4½ fist-widths above Venus to magnitude 0.9 Altair. Low in the southeast, 6½ fist-widths to Venus’ left is magnitude 1.3 Fomalhaut.

5 Nov    Late this evening, find Fomalhaut low in the south and magnitude 2.2 Deneb Kaitos, 2½ fist-widths to the left or upper left. Nearly 3 fist-widths to the left of Deneb Kaitos is magnitude 2.0 Mira. Don’t miss Cassiopeia, the lazy “W” constellation far to the upper left.

6 Nov    Low in the west at dusk, magnitude –4.5 Venus is 3 finger-widths to the thin waxing crescent moon’s lower left. The moon is at perigee, 57.28 Earth-radii (365,000 kilometers) from Earth. Only 10 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

7 Nov    After the moon sets 4 hours after the sun, the sky should be dark enough to see a few of the dimmer stars if you are away from light pollution. Look to the northwest. How many stars can you see in the constellation, Cygnus, the Swan? Of the three bright stars in the area, two are near the horizon. The highest is part of the Swan, magnitude 1.3 Deneb, the head. Three finger-widths to the lower left is magnitude 2.3 Sadr, the center of the Swan’s body. The wings are made up of magnitude 2.6 epsilon cygni, 4 finger-widths to the upper left, and magnitude 3.0 delta cygni, a little farther to the lower right of Sadr. The tail extends 1½ fist-widths to the lower left and ends with magnitude 3.2 Albireo. How many stars can you see between Sadr and Albireo with your naked eye? If the sky is dark enough you should be able to see three fourth-magnitude stars. Now, how many can you see with your binoculars?

9 Nov    High in the south at sunset, the moon is between magnitude 0.9 Altair, 2½ fist-widths to the upper right, and magnitude 1.3 Fomalhaut, 3 fist-widths to the lower left.

USPS Star Calendar for 13-19 October 6 October 2013

Posted by amedalen in October 2013.
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13 Oct    The waxing gibbous moon lies midway between magnitude 0.9 Altair, 3 fist-widths to the upper right, and magnitude 1.3 Fomalhaut, to the lower left. Mars is now to Regulus’ upper left.

14 Oct    Although closer, Mars remains to Regulus’ upper left.

15 Oct    This morning, Mars sinks to Regulus’ left and passes within less than 1 degree.

16 Oct    Now to the lower left of Regulus, Mars falls farther away every day. Meanwhile, in the evening sky, Venus passes within 1.5 degrees of Antares low in the southwest at dusk.

18 Oct    As the moon passes through Earth’s outer shadow tonight, the slight penumbral eclipse of the moon will be difficult to see for all but those living in the eastern half of North America, who may see some faint shading of the moon’s southernmost limb soon after moonrise.