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USPS Star Calendar for 31 May-6 June 24 May 2015

Posted by amedalen in June 2015, May 2015.
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31 May    Saturn is less than 4 finger-widths to the moon’s lower left tonight.

1 Jun    This evening Saturn is two finger-widths to the moon’s upper right.

2 Jun    Tonight Venus is a little more than 2 finger-widths to the left of Pollux, forming a straight line with the Gemini Twins. Antares and the moon rise a few minutes after sunset.

4 Jun    Before dawn, the moon is above the dome of the Teapot constellation, Sagittarius. 

5 Jun    Only three days past full, the moon rises shortly before midnight and is low in the southwest at first light.

USPS Star Calendar for 3-9 May 26 April 2015

Posted by amedalen in May 2015.
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3 May    High in the east at midnight, the full moon is midway between Spica, 2 fist-widths to the upper right, and Saturn, to the lower left.

4 May    The moon rises shortly after sunset and is followed a little more than a half-hour later by Saturn.

5 May    Rising late, the moon, Saturn and Antares are low in the east at midnight. Saturn is 3 finger-widths to the moon’s upper right while Antares is 4 finger-widths to the lower right.

6 May    Early this morning, the moon, Saturn and Antares travel low in the south and are low in the southwest at first light.

7 May    At its greatest elongation 21.2 degrees east of the sun, Mercury sets an hour after sunset.

8 May    The waning gibbous moon rises to the upper left of the dome of the Teapot, Sagittarius.

9 May    Tonight and the next few nights, the moon rises after midnight, making for good stargazing in the evening. Look in the north for the Big Dipper, which is upside down and nearly overhead.

USPS Star Calendar for 30 November-6 December 23 November 2014

Posted by amedalen in December 2014, November 2014.
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30 Nov    High in the southeast at dusk, the waxing gibbous moon is 2 fist-widths above a second-magnitude star, magnitude 2.2 Deneb Kaitos. Can you see the fourth-magnitude star midway between them? You may need binoculars to make out magnitude 3.8 iota Ceti.

2 Dec    Tonight look for magnitude 2.0 Mira, 1½ fist-widths below the moon.

3 Dec    The moon is surrounded by two second-magnitude and two third-magnitude stars this evening. The brightest, magnitude 2.0 Mira is 1½ fist-widths to the lower right.  Next in brightness, magnitude 2.2 Hamal is about the same distance to the upper left. Two finger-widths to Hamal’s right is magnitude 2.7 Sheratan. Finally, magnitude 2.8 Menkar is below and slightly right of the moon. You will need binoculars to get the most out of this viewing opportunity.

4 Dec    The Pleiades Cluster is 1 fist-width to the moon’s left or upper left this evening. Aldebaran is 1½ fist-widths to the lower left. The moon is more than 90 percent illuminated.

5 Dec    The nearly full moon rises in the middle of the constellation Taurus, the Bull, shortly before sunset. The brightest star, Aldebaran, is 1 finger-width to the moon’s lower left at dusk. Passing within less than 1 degree, the moon grows closer to Aldebaran as the evening passes. At midnight, the pair stands high in the south with Aldebaran to the moon’s lower right.

6 Dec    By mid-evening the full moon is high in the east surrounded by several first-magnitude stars. Aldebaran is 1 fist-width to the upper right. Capella is nearly 3 fist-widths to the upper left. Far below Capella is Pollux, the brighter of the Gemini Twins. Orion is to the lower right of the moon with its two first-magnitude stars, Betelgeuse 1 fist-width to the moon’s lower right, and Rigel at the opposite corner, beyond the belt.

USPS Star Calendar for 5-11 October 28 September 2014

Posted by amedalen in October 2014.
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5 Oct    The moon rises less than 2 hours before sunset and is high in the southwest by midnight. More than 80 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

6 Oct    The moon is at perigee, 56.83 Earth-radii (362,000 kilometers) away.

8 Oct    A total lunar eclipse will be visible for much of the U.S. before dawn as Earth’s shadow covers the full moon.

10 Oct    Rising less than 2 hours after sunset, the waning gibbous moon is high in the east by midnight. You may need binoculars to see the Pleiades Cluster is 1 fist-width to the left.

11 Oct    The moon rises 2½ hours after sunset and is followed a few minutes later by magnitude 1.1 Aldebaran. By midnight, they have climbed higher in the east with Aldebaran 1 finger-width to the moon’s lower left. The Pleiades Cluster is 1 fist-width above the moon.

USPS Star Calendar for 7-13 September 31 August 2014

Posted by amedalen in September 2014.
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8 Sep     The moon is at perigee, 56.19 Earth-radii (358,000 kilometers) away. Perigee occurs 22 hours before the full moon, so we can expect extreme tides.

10 Sep    Rising an hour after sunset, the moon is high in the southeast by midnight.

11 Sep    High in the west before dawn, the moon is three days past full, and about 95 percent of its surface is illuminated.

13 Sep    Rising more than 3 hours after sunset, the waning gibbous moon is low in the east at midnight, with the Pleiades Cluster 4 finger-widths to its upper left

USPS Star Calendar for 10-16 August 3 August 2014

Posted by amedalen in August 2014.
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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 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 11-17 May 4 May 2014

Posted by amedalen in May 2014.
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11 May    Low in the east as the sky darkens, the moon lies between Mars, 4 finger-widths to the upper right, and Spica, 3 finger-widths to the lower left.

12 May    The moon passes beyond Spica this evening. Magnitude 0.1 Saturn is nearly 2 fist-widths to the lower left of the moon. 

13 May    Low in the west early this evening, Saturn is only 2 finger-widths to the nearly full moon’s lower left.

14 May    The full moon rises at sunset. Saturn is less than 1 fist-width to its upper right.

15 May    Low in the southeast before first light, Saturn is 1 fist-width to the moon’s lower right and Antares, the heart of Scorpius, is about 4 finger-widths to the lower left, just above the horizon.

17 May    Low in the southwest before first light, the moon is just above the Teapot constellation, Sagittarius. The moon sets less than 3 hours after sunrise.

USPS Star Calendar for 20-26 April 13 April 2014

Posted by amedalen in April 2014.
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20 Apr    Easter Sunday is intended to be the Sunday after the full moon on or after the vernal equinox, assuming the equinox is on 21 March. (It can actually occur between 19-21 March.) The date assumed for the full moon also may not coincide with the astronomical date. As a result, the date of Easter is determined by a formula, Golden Numbers and Epacts, and may fall on any Sunday between 22 March and 25 April.

21 Apr    Low in the south before dawn, the moon is midway between Saturn, 6 fist-widths to the right, and Venus, the same distance to the left. The moon is about two-thirds illuminated.

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

25 Apr    Look quickly before sunrise to see Venus 2 finger-widths below the moon.

26 Apr    Venus and the moon rise within 5 minutes of each other this morning. The moon is about 10 percent illuminated.

USPS Star Calendar for 13-19 April 6 April 2014

Posted by amedalen in April 2014.
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13 Apr    High in the southwest by late evening, Mars is 3 finger-widths to the moon’s lower left, and Spica is 4 finger-widths below Mars.

14 Apr    Only 0.618 AU (92.4 million kilometers) away, Mars makes its closest approach to Earth since January 2008. By midnight, Spica and the moon are high in the southwest, less than ½ finger-width apart.

15 Apr    During April’s full moon, North America will see a total lunar eclipse beginning at about 0200 EDT. Totality begins an hour later and lasts 1 hour and 20 minutes. The moon completely leaves Earth’s umbra at 0533 EDT.

16 Apr    Low in the east at midnight, Saturn is ½ finger-width to the moon’s left. The nearly full moon will likely outshine Saturn, so get out your binoculars. At the southern tip of South America, the moon occults Saturn tomorrow morning.

17 Apr    Saturn stands 1 finger-width to the moon’s right before dawn.

18 Apr    Low in the south before dawn, magnitude 1.1 Antares is 3 finger-widths to the moon’s lower left and Saturn is 1½ fist-widths to the lower right.