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USPS Star Calendar for 3-9 November 27 October 2013

Posted by amedalen in November 2013.
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3 Nov    Change your clocks back one hour this morning. The equation of time is at maximum for the year, 16.48 minutes. This means that at noon mean solar time (clock time), the sun has already passed the meridian, 16 minutes earlier. To see today’s total solar eclipse, you will need to go to Africa; however, those in the northeastern U.S. will get a glimpse of a partial eclipse at sunrise.

4 Nov    Only one day old, the moon sets an hour after the sun, making for dark evening skies and good stargazing opportunities. Beginning low in the southwest, brilliant magnitude –4.4 Venus is easy to spot soon after sunset. Don’t wait too long, because it sinks below the horizon 2½ hours later. Look 4½ fist-widths above Venus to magnitude 0.9 Altair. Low in the southeast, 6½ fist-widths to Venus’ left is magnitude 1.3 Fomalhaut.

5 Nov    Late this evening, find Fomalhaut low in the south and magnitude 2.2 Deneb Kaitos, 2½ fist-widths to the left or upper left. Nearly 3 fist-widths to the left of Deneb Kaitos is magnitude 2.0 Mira. Don’t miss Cassiopeia, the lazy “W” constellation far to the upper left.

6 Nov    Low in the west at dusk, magnitude –4.5 Venus is 3 finger-widths to the thin waxing crescent moon’s lower left. The moon is at perigee, 57.28 Earth-radii (365,000 kilometers) from Earth. Only 10 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

7 Nov    After the moon sets 4 hours after the sun, the sky should be dark enough to see a few of the dimmer stars if you are away from light pollution. Look to the northwest. How many stars can you see in the constellation, Cygnus, the Swan? Of the three bright stars in the area, two are near the horizon. The highest is part of the Swan, magnitude 1.3 Deneb, the head. Three finger-widths to the lower left is magnitude 2.3 Sadr, the center of the Swan’s body. The wings are made up of magnitude 2.6 epsilon cygni, 4 finger-widths to the upper left, and magnitude 3.0 delta cygni, a little farther to the lower right of Sadr. The tail extends 1½ fist-widths to the lower left and ends with magnitude 3.2 Albireo. How many stars can you see between Sadr and Albireo with your naked eye? If the sky is dark enough you should be able to see three fourth-magnitude stars. Now, how many can you see with your binoculars?

9 Nov    High in the south at sunset, the moon is between magnitude 0.9 Altair, 2½ fist-widths to the upper right, and magnitude 1.3 Fomalhaut, 3 fist-widths to the lower left.

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USPS Star Calendar for 14-20 April 7 April 2013

Posted by amedalen in April 2013.
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14 Apr    The waxing crescent moon is less than 2 finger-widths to Jupiter’s left or upper left at dusk.

15 Apr    Three prominent constellations surround the moon tonight: Orion to the lower left, Gemini to the upper left and Taurus to the lower right. Home to the navigational star Capella, the lesser-known constellation Auriga, the Charioteer, is to the moon’s upper right. The moon is at apogee, 63.48 Earth-radii, or 405,000 kilometers, away. The equation of time is zero, which means sundial (apparent solar) time and mean solar time are the same.

16 Apr    Gemini’s brightest stars, Pollux and Castor, are 1½ fist-widths above the moon tonight. Magnitude 1.9 Alhena is 1 finger-width below the moon. Less than a third of the moon’s surface is illuminated

17 Apr    The waxing crescent moon lies midway between magnitude 1.2 Pollux, 1 fist-width to the upper right, and magnitude 0.5 Procyon, to the lower left.

18 Apr    Procyon is a little more than 1 fist-width to the first-quarter moon’s lower right, and magnitude 1.3 Regulus is 2½ fist-widths to the moon’s upper left.

20 Apr    Regulus is less than 3 finger-widths above or to the upper left of the waxing gibbous moon, high in the south at dusk. About two-thirds of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

USPS Star Calendar for 10-16 February 3 February 2013

Posted by amedalen in February 2013.
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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 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 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.