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USPS Star Calendar for 21-27 July 14 July 2013

Posted by amedalen in July 2013.
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21 Jul    Magnitude –3.9 Venus passes within ½ finger-width of magnitude 1.3 Regulus tonight. Low in the west at twilight, the stars set 1½ hours after the sun. The moon is at perigee, 56.2 Earth-radii away (222,000 miles) away.

22 Jul    Low in the east before dawn, magnitude 1.6 Mars passes less than 1 degree from magnitude 1.9 Jupiter. Look quickly, because the sun rises less than 2 hours after the planets, which will soon be lost in the glare. Full moon at 1815 UT

23 Jul    Only a few hours past full, the moon is low in the west before dawn and sets an hour after sunrise. Tonight it rises a half hour after sunset.

25 Jul    The moon rises a couple of hours after sunset. Three days past full, it’s about 90 percent illuminated.

26 Jul    Before dawn, the bright star 3 fist-widths below the moon in the southwest is magnitude 1.3 Fomalhaut. The same distance above the moon sits magnitude 2.1 Alpheratz in the constellation Andromeda, the Chained Princess, daughter of Cassiopeia and Cepheus.

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USPS Star Calendar for 23-29 June 16 June 2013

Posted by amedalen in June 2013.
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23 Jun    The moon is at perigee, 55.97 Earth-radii, or 357,000 kilometers, away. Perigee occurs less than a half hour before the full moon, so we can expect tidal extremes. Full moon at 1132 UT

24 Jun    Three finger-widths to the lower left of Pollux, Venus lines up with the Gemini Twins over the next two evenings. Look quickly because Venus sets little more than an hour and a half after the sun.

25 Jun    Rising late, the moon is low in the southwest before dawn. Only a couple of days past full, the moon is 95 percent illuminated.

27 Jun    High in the south at dawn, Altair is 3½ fist-widths to the moon’s upper right, and Fomalhaut is 2½ fist-widths to its lower left. The moon is 80 percent illuminated.

28 Jun    Before dawn, you’ll find magnitude 1.3 Fomalhaut 2½ fist-widths below the moon.

USPS Star Calendar for 18-24 November 11 November 2012

Posted by amedalen in November 2012.
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18 Nov    Venus and Spica rise 2½ hours before the sun.

19 Nov    Venus falls closer to the horizon and is now 2 finger-widths to Spica’s lower left.

20 Nov    Tonight is also a good night for viewing the Leonids. The first-quarter moon is high in the south at nightfall. Most nearby stars are third magnitude or dimmer. Magnitude 0.9 Altair is nearly 4 fist-widths to the upper right, and magnitude 1.3 Fomalhaut is 2½ fist-widths to the lower left. How many lower-magnitude stars can you spot near the moon? Magnitude 3.2 Sadalmelik is 2 finger-widths to the upper right, and magnitude 3.0 Deneb Algedi is 1 fist-width to the lower right.

21 Nov    High in the south at dusk, the Great Square of Pegasus is a couple of fist-widths above or to the upper left of the waxing gibbous moon.

24 Nov    The moon is in the constellation Pisces, the Fish. In this faint constellation none of the stars are brighter than fourth magnitude. In Greco-Roman myth, Aphrodite and her son Heros were chased by the monster Typhon. To escape they transformed into fish and tied their tails together to make sure they would never be separated. The two fish form a V in the sky where they are tied. The moon is 1 fist-width above the base of the V.

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

Posted by amedalen in August 2012, September 2012.
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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 1-7 July 24 June 2012

Posted by amedalen in July 2012.
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1 Jul    Rising 2 hours before sunset, the moon and Antares will be low in the south after sunset with Antares 1 fist-width to the moon’s right. More than 90 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated. The moon is at perigee, 56.81 Earth-radii (362,000 kilometers) away from the earth. Reaching its greatest elongation, 25.7 degrees east of the sun, Mercury is low in the west at nightfall, setting 1½ hours after the sun. With a clear view of the western horizon, you can see it easily as the sky darkens.

2 Jul    Rising an hour before sunset, the moon sits above the dome of the Teapot constellation, Sagittarius, late tonight.

5 Jul    Earth reaches aphelion, its farthest distance from the sun, at 0400 UT. We are almost 5 million kilometers (more than 3 million miles) farther from the sun than at perihelion on 3 Jan.

6 Jul    In the southwest before dawn, the moon is between Altair, 3 fist-widths to the upper right, and Fomalhaut, the same distance to the lower left.

7 Jul    Jupiter, Venus and Aldebaran form a nearly vertical line before dawn, with Jupiter at the top, Venus 2 finger-widths below and Aldebaran another ½ finger-width beyond.

USPS Star Calendar for 10-16 June 3 June 2012

Posted by amedalen in June 2012.
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10 Jun    In the south before dawn, magnitude 1.3 Fomalhaut is 2½ fist-widths below the waning gibbous moon.

11 Jun    The last-quarter moon rises 4½ hours before the sun and is high in the southeast at first light.

13 Jun    The moon rises 3½ hours before the sun, and just above the eastern horizon, brilliant magnitude -2.0 Jupiter rises 1 1/4 hours before sunrise.

16 Jun    The moon is at apogee, 63.62 Earth-radii (406,000 kilometers) away.

USPS Star Calendar for 27 November-3 December 20 November 2011

Posted by amedalen in December 2011, November 2011.
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27 Nov    Tonight Venus is nearly 1 fist-width to the moon’s lower right.

28 Nov    Altair is 2.5 fist-widths to the moon’s upper right low in the west at dusk. The moon sets less than 2 hours after the sun.

30 Nov    Less than one-third of the moon’s surface is illuminated, so it shouldn’t outshine the dimmer stars nearby. Get your binoculars and look for magnitude 3.1 Sadalsuud 2 finger-widths above the moon and magnitude 3.0 Deneb Algedi 3 finger-widths to the lower left. You should also be able to spot several dimmer fourth and fifth magnitude stars within 2 or 3 finger-widths of the moon.

2 Dec    The bright star 3 fist-widths below the moon tonight is magnitude 1.3 Fomalhaut. First-quarter moon at 0952 UT

3 Dec    Magnitude 2.1 Alpheratz is 2.5 fist-widths above or to the upper left of the moon tonight.

USPS Star Calendar for 30 October-5 November 23 October 2011

Posted by amedalen in November 2011, October 2011.
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30 Oct    The thin waxing crescent moon is above Sagittarius low in the southwest at dusk. Less than 20 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

31 Oct    Trick-or-treaters will not have much moonlight tonight with only 25 percent of the moon’s surface illuminated.

1 Nov    High in the south at sunset, magnitude 0.9 Altair is 2.5 fist-widths to the moon’s upper right.

2 Nov    The moon lies between Altair, 2.5 fist-widths to the upper right, and magnitude 1.3 Fomalhaut, 3 fist-widths to the lower left. First-quarter moon at 1638 UT

3 Nov    The equation of time is at the maximum for the year at 16.48 minutes. This means that the sun passed the meridian about 16 minutes before 12 noon mean solar time. On this day in 1957, Sputnik 2 carried the dog Laika, the first living animal into space.

4 Nov    In the south tonight, Altair is 4 fist-widths to the waxing gibbous moon’s upper right, and Jupiter is even farther to the lower left. The bright star between the moon and the horizon is magnitude 1.3 Fomalhaut. Nearly two-thirds of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

USPS Star Calendar for 2-8 October 25 September 2011

Posted by amedalen in October 2011.
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3 Oct    The moon is above the dome of Sagittarius this evening. Altair is 3.5 fist-widths above or to the upper left of the moon.

4 Oct    On this day in 1957, the Soviet Union launched Sputnik 1, the world’s first artificial satellite. First-quarter moon at 0315 UT (last night in the U.S.)

5 Oct    Altair is 2.5 fist-widths to the moon’s upper right tonight.

7 Oct    The waxing gibbous moon rises 2 hours before sunset. Later tonight, magnitude 0.9 Altair is 3.5 fist-widths to the moon’s upper right and magnitude 1.3 Fomalhaut is near the horizon 2.5 fist-widths below the moon.

USPS Star Calendar for 11-17 September 4 September 2011

Posted by amedalen in September 2011.
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11 Sep    Rising a half-hour before sunset, the moon is high in the southeast before midnight. Magnitude 1.3 Fomalhaut is 2.5 fist-widths to the lower right, Altair is 5 fist-widths to the upper right, and Jupiter is the same distance to the lower left.

12 Sep    The full moon closest to the autumnal equinox, the Harvest Moon, occurs at 0927 UT.

13 Sep    Early tonight, magnitude -2.7 Jupiter is nearly 3 fist-widths to the moon’s lower left in the southeast. Watch as the moon catches up with Jupiter the next few evenings.

14 Sep    Jupiter is only 1.5 fist-widths to the moon’s lower left tonight. More than 90 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated. Try to spot magnitude 3.7 eta Piscium, 2 finger-widths to the moon’s left. [Binoculars]

15 Sep    The moon rises late tonight, a little more than a half-hour before Jupiter, which is 3 finger-widths below. The moon is at apogee, more than 405,000 kilometers or 63.67 Earth-radii away.

16 Sep    High in the southwest at first light, the moon and Jupiter rise 2 hours after sunset. Jupiter is 4 finger-widths to the moon’s right. Tomorrow morning, they are high in the southwest with Jupiter nearly 1 fist-width below the moon.

17 Sep    Tonight, the moon rises late, about 40 minutes after Jupiter. The Pleiades Cluster is to the moon’s left. [Binoculars]