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USPS Star Calendar for 9-15 November 2 November 2014

Posted by amedalen in November 2014.
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9 Nov    The moon rises 2½ hours after sunset, followed shortly by the Gemini Twins to the lower left and Orion, the Mighty Hunter, to the lower right. They are high in the west before dawn tomorrow with the twins above the moon and the hunter below.

10 Nov    The moon rises 3½ hours after sunset, about the same time as Gemini and Orion.  The star 1 finger-width to the moon’s right or upper right is magnitude 1.9 Alhena, part of the Gemini constellation.

11 Nov    Rising late, the moon is high in the east at midnight with the Gemini Twins 1 fist-width to the upper left and Procyon the same distance to the lower right.

13 Nov    The moon and Jupiter rise side by side shortly before midnight and are separated by less than 3 finger-widths.

14 Nov    Regulus, Jupiter and the last-quarter moon form a tight triangle high in the south at first light. Jupiter is 2 finger-widths above or to the upper left of the moon while Regulus is 1 fist-width to the moon’s left or upper left.

15 Nov    The moon and Regulus rise a few minutes apart shortly after midnight. They are high in the south at sunrise with Regulus less than 3 finger-widths above the moon. Jupiter is to the upper right. The moon is at apogee, 63.39 Earth-radii (404,000 kilometers) away.

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USPS Star Calendar for 17-23 August 10 August 2014

Posted by amedalen in August 2014.
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17 Aug    This morning, Jupiter rises 5 minutes after Venus, less than a half a finger-width away. High in the southeast before dawn, the last-quarter moon forms a line with 3 first-magnitude stars: magnitude 1.1 Aldebaran 1½ fist-widths to the lower left, magnitude 0.6 Betelgeuse 2 fist-widths beyond Aldebaran, and magnitude 0.5 Procyon 2½ fist-widths farther, near the horizon.

18 Aug    Rising a minute later than Jupiter, Venus slides to Jupiter’s left this morning as they pass within 0.21 degrees. Aldebaran is 2 finger-widths to the waning crescent moon’s lower left. The Pleiades Cluster is 1 fist-width above the moon.

19 Aug    Venus quickly falls away from Jupiter. Separated by a half a finger-width, Venus rises 6 minutes after Jupiter. Betelgeuse is 1½ fist-widths below the moon this morning.

20 Aug    Before dawn Betelgeuse is 1 fist-width to the moon’s lower right, and Procyon is 2½ fist-widths below the moon.

21 Aug    The Gemini Twins, Pollux and Castor, are 1½ fist-widths to the moon’s left before dawn. Pollux is the brighter twin. The second-magnitude star 2 finger-widths to the moon’s upper right is magnitude 1.9 Alhena, also in Gemini. Low in the south early tonight, Mars and Saturn are 1½ fist-widths to the right of Scorpius’ head. Mars is 2 finger-widths to Saturn’s lower right and slides to the left during the next few nights.

22 Aug    The waning crescent moon lies between Procyon, 1 fist-width to the lower right, and Pollux, a little farther to the upper left. Less than 10 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

23 Aug    Rising 1½ hours before the sun, the moon, Venus and Jupiter are clustered within 4 finger-widths near the horizon at first light. Mars is directly below Saturn tonight. The third-magnitude star 1 finger-width to Mars’ upper right is magnitude 2.9 Zubenelgenubi, which represents the top of Libra’s scales.

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 16-22 February 9 February 2014

Posted by amedalen in February 2014.
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16 Feb    High in the southwest at midnight, Regulus is more than 2 fist-widths to the moon’s upper right; Spica and Mars are 3 fist-widths to the lower left just above the horizon.

18 Feb    The moon rises four hours after sunset; Spica and Mars follow a half hour later. By midnight, the trio remains low in the eastern sky.

19 Feb    The moon, Spica and Mars are low in the southwest before first light. Spica is 1 finger-width to the moon’s left, and Mars is 3 finger-widths to its upper left.

20 Feb    Three planets—Mars, Saturn and Venus—are visible in the pre-dawn sky, and the moon passes all three in the next few days. Yesterday, the moon was 3 finger-widths to Mars’ lower right. This morning, it is 4 finger-widths to Mars’ lower left. Saturn is nearly 2 fist-widths to the moon’s left. Venus is far to the left, near the eastern horizon.

21 Feb    The moon is now a little more than 2 finger-widths to Saturn’s right. Mars is 2 fist-widths to the moon’s right or upper right. Later this afternoon when they are below the horizon, the moon and Saturn will pass within 0.3 degrees.

22 Feb    The last-quarter moon passes to the left of Saturn, and the bright star 1 fist-width to the moon’s lower left is magnitude 1.1 Antares.

USPS Star Calendar for 22-28 September 15 September 2013

Posted by amedalen in September 2013.
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22 Sep    Today marks the first day of fall, the autumnal equinox, as the sun crosses the celestial equator into the Southern Hemisphere.

23 Sep    Using binoculars, look for the Pleiades Cluster 3 finger-widths to the moon’s upper left this evening.

24 Sep    High in the southwest before dawn, the Pleiades Cluster is 3 finger-widths to the moon’s upper right, and Aldebaran is less than 1 fist-width to the left.

25 Sep    In the south before dawn, bright magnitude 1.1 Aldebaran is 2 finger-widths to the moon’s lower right. To the moon’s lower left, Orion the Mighty Hunter dominates the southern sky.

26 Sep    Rising shortly after midnight, the first-quarter moon is high in the south before dawn, midway between Jupiter to the lower left and Aldebaran to the upper right. The brightest star in Orion, magnitude 0.6 Betelgeuse, is 1 fist-width below the moon.

27 Sep    Magnitude 1.9 Alhena, in the constellation Gemini, is 1 finger-width below the moon in the pre-dawn sky. The Twins, Pollux and Castor, are nearly 2 fist-widths to the left. Jupiter is 1 fist-width to the moon’s lower left. The moon is at apogee, 63.39 Earth-radii (251,000 miles) away. Last-quarter moon at 0355 UT

28 Sep    The moon is between magnitude –2.2 Jupiter, 3 finger-widths to the upper left, and magnitude 0.5 Procyon, a little more than 1 fist-width to the lower right.

USPS Star Calendar for 25-31 August 18 August 2013

Posted by amedalen in August 2013.
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26 Aug    Rising less than an hour before midnight, the moon is 1 fist-width to the right of the Pleiades Cluster. Nearly 75 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

27 Aug    The waning gibbous moon is high in the south before first light with the Pleiades 4 finger-widths to the upper left.

28 Aug    High in the southeast before dawn, the last-quarter moon (0935 UT) lies between the Pleiades, 4 finger-widths to the upper right, and Aldebaran, 2 finger-widths to the lower left. Orion, the Mighty Hunter, is beyond Aldebaran.

30 Aug    The moon is at apogee, 62.48 Earth-radii (252,000 miles) away.

31 Aug    Magnitude –2.0 Jupiter is 2 finger-widths to the left of the waning crescent moon in the pre-dawn sky. The Gemini Twins are 1½ fist-widths to the lower left.

USPS Star Calendar for 28 July-3 August 21 July 2013

Posted by amedalen in August 2013, July 2013.
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28 Jul    High in the south at first light, the waning gibbous moon is between Alpheratz, 2½ fist-widths to the upper right, and magnitude 2.0 Mira, 2 fist-widths to the lower left in the constellation Cetus, the Sea Monster.

29 Jul    Rising around midnight, the last-quarter moon (1743 UT) is high in the southwest before dawn tomorrow.

30 Jul    Rising 1½ hours before the sun, magnitude 0.2 Mercury reaches its greatest elongation west of the sun and should be visible before the sky brightens. With your binoculars, try spotting magnitude 1.6 Mars 3 finger-widths above Mercury and magnitude –1.9 Jupiter 1½ finger-widths to Mars’ upper right.

31 Jul    High in the east before dawn, look for the Pleiades Cluster 3 finger-widths to the waning crescent moon’s upper left. The moon is about one-third illuminated.

1 Aug    Magnitude 1.1 Aldebaran is 1 finger-width to the moon’s lower right before dawn.

3 Aug    Over the next few days, the waning crescent moon passes by three planets in the pre-dawn sky. This morning look for magnitude –1.9 Jupiter, 3 finger-widths to the moon’s left or lower left, and magnitude 1.6 Mars, 3 finger-widths to Jupiter’s lower left. About 10 percent illuminated, the moon is at apogee, 63.63 Earth-radii (252,000 miles) away.

USPS Star Calendar for 30 June-6 July 23 June 2013

Posted by amedalen in July 2013, June 2013.
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30 Jun    Last-quarter moon at 0453 UT

1 Jul    Magnitude –3.9 Venus is low in the west at sunset with magnitude 1.3 Regulus 2½ fist-widths to the upper left.

2 Jul    In the early evening, you’ll find the Big Dipper, Ursa Major, with its handle pointing up high in the southwest. It rotates counterclockwise and sinks toward the horizon as the evening passes. The year is half over at 1200 UT.

4 Jul    With the moon rising more than 2½ hours before the sun, tonight is a good time to view the Pleiades Cluster, 3 finger-widths to the upper left, and Aldebaran, 1 fist-width to the lower left.

5 Jul    Magnitude 1.1 Aldebaran is 2 finger-widths to the right of the waning crescent moon this morning. At around 1500 UT, Earth reaches aphelion, its farthest distance from the sun at 1.01670 astronomical units (94 million miles) away. Aphelion varies from as early as 2 July to as late as 6 July. Earth is about 3.1 million miles more distant than it was at perihelion on 2 Jan.

USPS Star Calendar for 26 May-1 June 19 May 2013

Posted by amedalen in June 2013, May 2013.
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26 May    Tonight Jupiter slips lower and Mercury climbs higher; within 3 degrees of each other, they form a tight triangle with Venus. By tomorrow morning, they fit within a 2.43-degree diameter circle. The moon is at perigee, 56.19 Earth-radii, or 358,000 kilometers, away. Perigee occurs 21 hours after the full moon, so expect extreme tides.

27 May    Jupiter and Venus stand side by side ½ finger-width apart tonight. Mercury has climbed to the upper right. Before dawn, the moon stands above the dome of the Teapot constellation, Sagittarius, low in the southwest.

28 May    Jupiter slips to Venus’ lower left, and Mercury continues to climb.

29 May    Before dawn, look 2½ fist-widths to the moon’s upper right to find magnitude 0.9 Altair.

30 May    Mercury climbs higher, and Jupiter sinks lower, forming a nearly straight line with Venus 3 finger-widths long.

31 May    Last-quarter moon at 1858 UT

1 Jun    The waning crescent moon rises 4 hours before the sun and is high in the southeast at first light.

USPS Star Calendar for 28 April-4 May 21 April 2013

Posted by amedalen in April 2013, May 2013.
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28 Apr    Before first light, look for Antares 3 finger-widths to the moon’s lower right low in the southwest. Only three days past full, the moon is more than 90 percent illuminated.

1 May    May Day, related to the Celtic festival Beltane, features bonfires and maypoles.

2 May    Low in the southeast before dawn, the last-quarter moon is 2½ fist-widths below or to the lower left of bright magnitude 0.9 Altair.

4 May    Get out and enjoy the free light show during the next few moonless nights. Orion sets shortly after sunset, leaving Gemini in the west. Look 3 fist-widths to Gemini’s lower right to see magnitude 0.2 Capella, in the constellation Auriga, the Charioteer.