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USPS Star Calendar for 10-16 May 3 May 2015

Posted by amedalen in May 2015.
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10 May    Look to the lower left of the Big Dipper for the Gemini Twins, Pollux and Castor, in the west. Brilliant Venus is 2 fist-widths to the Twins’ lower right. You should be able to spot two bright stars to Venus’ left. Alhena is the brighter of the two. How many stars can you see between Alhena and Pollux? Now look again with binoculars.

12 May    This evening, Jupiter is high in the southwest. Regulus, in the constellation Leo, the Lion, is 1½ fist-widths to Regulus’ left. Five fist-widths beyond Regulus is Spica, in the constellation Virgo. Saturn is nearly 4 fist-widths to Spica’s lower right, near the horizon in the southeast.

13 May    To find the Little Dipper, follow the pointer stars at the end of the Big Dipper’s handle 3 fist-widths to the lower right to Polaris. Polaris is at the end of the Little Dipper’s handle. Kochab, 1½ fist-widths to Polaris’ upper right, is one of the Little Dipper’s corners. Another corner is Pherkad, 2 finger-widths to Kochab’s right or lower right. You may need binoculars to see the other stars of the dipper and handle.

15 May    The moon is at perigee, 57.39 Earth-radii (366,000 kilometers) away.

16 May    Only two days before new, the moon rises less than an hour before the sun and is no more than a thin sliver, low in the east before dawn.

 

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USPS Star Calendar for 18-24 January 11 January 2015

Posted by amedalen in January 2015.
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18 Jan    Without the moon’s light, it should be easy to see a planet trio low in the west at sunset. Mercury is to the lower right of brilliant Venus, and Mars is 1½ fist-widths to the upper left.

19 Jan    Tonight is another dark night good for stargazing. Look for Gemini and Orion low in the west at dusk. Later this evening they are high in the south, while Jupiter and Leo the Lion take their place. To the left, the Big Dipper stands on its handle.

21 Jan    Low in the west at dusk, Venus is 2½ finger-widths to the moon’s left, and Mercury is 2 finger-widths below.

22 Jan   Early this evening, Mars is 2 finger-widths to the moon’s left, and Venus is 1 fist-width below.

23 Jan    Forming a straight line tonight, Mars is 1 fist-width to the moon’s lower right, and Venus is a fist-width beyond Mars.

24 Jan    High in the southwest at dusk, the thin crescent moon is in a straight line between Deneb Kaitos, 2 fist-widths to the lower left, and Alpheratz, a little farther to the upper right. Mira is 3 fist-widths to the left.

USPS Star Calendar for 29 June-5 July 22 June 2014

Posted by amedalen in July 2014, June 2014.
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29 Jun    Jupiter is a little more than 1 fist-width to the right of the moon, which is a little higher above the western horizon tonight. The moon is less than 10 percent illuminated.

30 Jun    Low in the west at dusk, the thin waxing crescent moon sets only two hours after the sun. Magnitude 1.3 Regulus in the constellation Leo, the Lion, is 1 fist-width to the upper left. The moon is at apogee, 63.65 Earth-radii (406,000 kilometers) away.

1 Jul    Low in the west at dusk, magnitude 1.3 Regulus is 2 finger-widths to the thin waxing crescent moon’s upper right. About 10 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

3 Jul    The moon lies midway between Regulus, 2½ fist-widths to the lower right, and magnitude 0.1 Mars, to the upper right. The moon’s surface is about 20 percent illuminated.

4 Jul    Much closer to Mars tonight, the moon is 1 fist-width to the right of the red planet. Around midnight, earth is at aphelion, its farthest point from the sun for the year. At 1.01682 AU, it’s about 1.5 million miles farther than its average distance of 93 million miles.

5 Jul    Tonight the first-quarter moon passes within a quarter-degree of Mars. Viewing is best as Mars becomes visible in the darkening sky. As evening passes, the moon slides to Mars’ left and is between Mars and Spica when the trio sets early tomorrow morning.

USPS Star Calendar for 22-28 June 15 June 2014

Posted by amedalen in June 2014.
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23 Jun    The moon rises 2½ hours before the sun this morning and is followed 40 minutes later by magnitude -3.9 Venus about 1 fist-width to the lower left. The Pleiades Cluster is 3 finger-widths to Venus’ upper left.

24 Jun    The moon and Venus rise together this morning, less than 2 hours before the sun. The moon is only 1 finger-width to Venus’ lower right. The moon is only 10 percent illuminated.

25 Jun    The moon rises just before the sun for the next few days, giving us dark evenings for stargazing. Let’s look at some of the night sky’s less obvious features. Start in the west with the constellation Leo, the Lion, whose brightest star, magnitude 1.3 Regulus, is easy to spot. How many of the other stars can you see with your  binoculars? Most are third magnitude and dimmer except for one second-magnitude star, magnitude 2.2 Denebola, 2½ fist-widths to Regulus’ upper left.

26 Jun    Look high overhead tonight. Find Arcturus by following the arc of the Big Dipper’s handle. Arcturus is the brightest star of the constellation Boötes, the Herdsman. Many believe that Boötes looks more like a kite. None of the stars are brighter than third magnitude.

27 Jun    Turning to the south, Scorpius, the Scorpion, dominates the area near the horizon. Magnitude 1.1 Antares is its only first-magnitude star.

28 Jun    Low in the west after sunset, magnitude -1.8 Jupiter is 2 finger-widths to the very thin moon’s upper right. The moon sets less than an hour after the sun.

USPS Star Calendar for 2-8 June 26 May 2013

Posted by amedalen in June 2013.
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3 Jun    The waning crescent moon rises 3 hours before the sun. About 25 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

4 Jun    The moon spends the next few evenings out of view, leaving us with dark skies for stargazing. In the east, Gemini is closer to the horizon. Regulus and the constellation Leo have taken over the western sky. Leo’s second brightest star, magnitude 2.2 Denebola, is 2½ fist-widths to Regulus’ upper left.

5 Jun    In the south, midway up from the horizon, two bright bodies grab our attention. The brighter is Saturn. At magnitude 0.4, it outshines magnitude 1.2 Spica, 1 fist-width to the right. Magnitude 0.2 Arcturus is high above, and magnitude 1.1 Antares is far to the lower left.

6 Jun    The Summer Triangle begins to climb in the eastern sky. Magnitude 0.1 Vega is halfway up from the horizon, a little left of east, magnitude 1.3 Deneb is 2½ fist-widths to the lower left, and 4 fist-widths to the lower right, magnitude 0.9 Altair completes the triangle. Altair rises nearly an hour after sunset, so the best view will be around midnight when the triangle is high in the east.

7 Jun    In early evening, the Big Dipper is high in the north with its handle pointing up. Find Polaris by following a line to the lower right from the pointer stars at the far end of the dipper. Polaris is the last star in the handle of the Little Dipper. Now find the brightest star of the Little Dipper, magnitude 2.2 Kochab, 1½ fist widths above or to the upper right of Polaris, depending on when you are looking.

8 Jun    New moon at 1556 UT 

USPS Star Calendar for 5-11 May 28 April 2013

Posted by amedalen in May 2013.
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5 May    Leo, the Lion, dominates the southern sky. Its brightest star, magnitude 1.3 Regulus, is easy to spot in the south. Magnitude 0.5 Procyon is 4 fist-widths to Regulus’ lower right. Magnitude 2.2 Alphard, in the constellation Hydra, the Sea Serpent, is 2 fist-widths below Regulus. Magnitude 1.2 Spica lies far to the lower left of Regulus. Noticeably brighter, Saturn is just beyond Spica.

6 May    The bright star halfway up from the eastern horizon is magnitude 0.2 Arcturus, in the constellation Boötes, the Herdsman. Arcturus comes from the Greek, meaning “guardian of the bear.”

7 May    In the early evening, the Big Dipper is upside down high overhead with its handle extending to the right.

9 May    For the best view of today’s annular solar eclipse, you will have to go to Australia or New Guinea. Those in Hawaii will see a partial eclipse. New moon at 0028 UT

10 May    The moon sets less than an hour after the sun but if you have a clear view of the western horizon, you may be able to catch a glimpse of the thin waxing crescent moon just to the lower left of Venus.

USPS Star Calendar for 10 to 16 April 3 April 2011

Posted by amedalen in April 2011.
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10 Apr    The moon is directly above Orion and below the Gemini Twins at sunset. Procyon is 1.5 fist-widths to the lower left.

11 Apr    The Gemini Twins are 1 fist-width to the moon’s right. First-quarter moon at 1205 UT

12 Apr    The moon is high in the south at dusk. Magnitude 1.3 Regulus, the brightest star in Leo, the Lion, is 1.5 fist-widths to the moon’s left or upper left, and Procyon is 2 fist-widths to the lower right. Fifty years ago today Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin made the first manned Earth orbit.

13 Apr    Regulus is 3 finger-widths to the waxing gibbous moon’s upper left tonight. More than 66 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

14 Apr    The waxing gibbous moon is high in the southeast at evening twilight. Regulus is 1.5 fist-widths to the upper right and magnitude 0.4 Saturn is 3 fist-widths to the lower left. Use binoculars to see magnitude 2.9 Porrima 1 finger-width to Saturn’s upper right.

15 Apr    The equation of time is zero. Apparent solar time (sundial time) and mean solar time are the same.

16 Apr    As the sky darkens, magnitude 0.4 Saturn becomes visible 4 finger-widths to the moon’s upper left. Magnitude 1.2 Spica appears 1 fist-width to the moon’s lower left. Magnitude 0.2 Arcturus is 3.5 fist-widths to the left, and the Big Dipper is nearly upside down far to the upper left.