jump to navigation

USPS Star Calendar for 7-13 June 31 May 2015

Posted by amedalen in June 2015.
Tags: , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

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 25-31 January 18 January 2015

Posted by amedalen in January 2015.
Tags: , , , , , , ,
add a comment

26 Jan    High in the south early this evening, the moon is between Hamal, a little more than 1 fist-width to the upper right, and Mira, the same distance to the lower left.

28 Jan    Tonight high in the south, the Pleiades Cluster is 4 finger-widths above or to the upper right of the moon, and Aldebaran is the same distance to the left or upper left.

30 Jan    Mercury is at inferior conjunction, passing between the sun and Earth.

31 Jan    Procyon is 2 fist-widths below the moon. Look with binoculars to see second-magnitude Alhena less than 1 finger-width to the moon’s right.

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

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

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 13-19 July 6 July 2014

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

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 2-8 March 23 February 2014

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

3 Mar    The waxing crescent moon sets three hours after the sun. Less than 10 percent illuminated, the moon is surrounded by three second-magnitude stars: Alpheratz, 2½ fist-widths to the right; Mira, 2 fist-widths to the upper left; and Hamal, 2 fist-widths above.

4 Mar    Tonight the moon lies between Mira and Hamal. If you are far away from city lights, you should be able to spot the third-magnitude star 2 finger-widths below Hamal, magnitude 2.7 Sheratan. Both stars are in the constellation Aries, the Ram.

6 Mar    In the early evening, the Pleiades Cluster is 3 finger-widths to the moon’s upper right high in the west. About 25 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

7 Mar    As the sky darkens and the stars become visible, look for Aldebaran, 1 finger-width below the moon high in the southwest at sunset.

8 Mar    Several first-magnitude stars and a planet surround the moon high in the south at sunset: Magnitude 0.6 Betelgeuse is 1 fist-width to the lower left; magnitude 1.1 Aldebaran is 1 fist-width to the lower right; magnitude 0.2 Capella is 2½ fist-widths to the upper right; and magnitude –2.4 Jupiter is 1½ fist-widths to the upper left.

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 10-16 March 3 March 2013

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

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 10-16 February 3 February 2013

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

10 Feb    New at 720 UT, the moon rises and sets within a few minutes of the sun.

11 Feb    If you have a clear view of the western horizon at dusk, you can catch a glimpse of magnitude -0.9 Mercury 3 finger-widths to the waxing crescent moon’s lower left and magnitude 1.2 Mars 1 finger-width below Mercury. Watch them disappear below the horizon. Setting a little more than an hour after the sun, Mars is followed 15 minutes later by Mercury. The moon sets a half hour later. The equation of time is at the minimum for the year, -14.25 minutes. That means at noon mean solar time the sun has not reached the meridian; it will do so 14 minutes later.

12 Feb    Today is Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday), the day before the season of lent begins.

13 Feb    Look low in the west at nightfall to spot magnitude 2.1 Alpheratz 2 fist-widths to the thin waxing crescent moon’s upper right. Magnitude 2.0 Mira is 2½ fist-widths to the upper left, and magnitude 2.2 Hamal is the same distance above the moon.

14 Feb    Mira, in the constellation Cetus, the Whale, is 2 fist-widths to the moon’s left tonight. To the ancient Greeks, Cetus was a sea monster that Perseus destroyed before it could attack Andromeda. Today is St. Valentine’s Day.

15 Feb    Early this evening, magnitude -2.4 Jupiter is 3 fist-widths to the waxing crescent moon’s upper left high in the west. Magnitude 1.1 Aldebaran is 3 finger-widths to the left or lower left of Jupiter, and Orion is a couple of fist-widths beyond Aldebaran. The moon is 25 percent illuminated.

16 Feb    Mercury reaches its greatest elongation east of the sun, a little over 18 degrees, and sets 1½ hours after the sun.

USPS Star Calendar for 13-19 January 6 January 2013

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

13 Jan    Magnitude 1.2 Mars is less than 1 fist-width below the thin waxing crescent moon low in the west at dusk. About 5 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

14 Jan   Today is 1 Jan. in the Julian calendar, which was used until 1582 when it was replaced with the Gregorian calendar. This is the first day of the Roman year 2766 AUC. AUC stands for ab urbe condita, which means “from the founding of the city (Rome).”

15 Jan    You will need binoculars to see a group of fourth- and fifth-magnitude stars that forms a pentagon directly above the moon tonight. Part of the constellation Pisces, the stars are within 3 finger-widths of the moon. The brightest, magnitude 3.9 gamma Piscium, is a little more than 1 finger-width to the moon’s upper right.

16 Jan    Pegasus stands to the right of the moon this evening.

18 Jan    The two stars 1 fist-width above the first-quarter moon are magnitude 2.7 Sheratan and magnitude 2.2 Hamal in the constellation Aries, the Ram. Using binoculars, can you spot the fifth-magnitude star just below Sheratan? How about the one to Hamal’s lower right?

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.