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USPS Star Calendar for 12-18 April 5 April 2015

Posted by amedalen in April 2015.
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12 Apr    Follow the pointer stars at the end of the Big Dipper’s handle to the left past Polaris, the North Star, to Cassiopeia, the Lazy “W” constellation near the horizon in the north.

13 Apr    Orion, the Mighty Hunter, is low in the west at sunset. Two fist-widths to the right of his belt is Aldabaran. Venus is 1 fist-width to the lower right of Aldabaran. Use your binoculars to spot the Pleiades, the Seven Sisters, 1 finger-width to the right of Venus.

15 Apr    The equation of time is zero. Local mean time and sun time are equal.

17 Apr    The moon is at perigee, 565.60 Earth-radii (361,000 kilometers) away.

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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.

USPS Star Calendar for 5-11 January 29 December 2013

Posted by amedalen in January 2014.
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5 Jan    Jupiter makes its closest approach to Earth at opposition. Jupiter’s face is fully illuminated by the sun, making this the best time to view the planet and its moons. With a good pair of binoculars, you should be able to see Jupiter’s four largest moons, which appear as bright dots on either side of the planet. At magnitude –2.7, Jupiter outshines everything else in the area.  As evening passes, Jupiter climbs the eastern sky and is high in the southeast at midnight.

6 Jan    High in the south at dusk, the moon sets seven hours after the sun. About 25 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

8 Jan    Rising at midday, the first-quarter moon is high in the south at dusk and sets after midnight.

10 Jan    Two-thirds of the moon’s surface is illuminated. High in the southeast at dusk, the moon is above the constellation Taurus the Bull. Orion, the Mighty Hunter, lies on its side below Taurus.

11 Jan    High in the southeast in the early evening, the Seven Sisters (Pleiades Cluster) are less than 1 fist-width above or to the upper right of the moon, and magnitude 1.1 Aldebaran is 2 finger-widths below or to the lower left. Orion lies beyond Aldebaran. Venus is at inferior conjunction, passing between Earth and the sun. Venus will soon be visible in the pre-dawn sky.

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 4-10 November 28 October 2012

Posted by amedalen in November 2012.
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4 Nov    High in the south before dawn, Orion is to the far lower right of the waning gibbous moon. The Gemini Twins are to the moon’s upper left, and Procyon is 1½ fist-widths to the lower left. Daylight saving time ends at 0200. Turn your clocks back one hour.

5 Nov    Before dawn, Procyon is 1 fist-width below the moon, and the Gemini Twins are the same distance to the upper right.

7 Nov    Magnitude 1.3 Regulus is 1 fist-width to the moon’s left before dawn, and magnitude 0.5 Procyon is 2½ fist-widths to the right.

8 Nov    Regulus is less than 4 finger-widths above the moon before first light. About 40 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

9 Nov    The moon rises well after midnight, making the next few nights a great opportunity to view stars normally overwhelmed by its glow. Let’s start at Orion, the Mighty Hunter. The three stars that make up Orion’s belt are nearly vertical. Magnitude 1.7 Bellatrix is to the belt’s upper left. From Bellatrix, look 4 finger-widths to the upper right to find the six third- and fourth-magnitude stars that form his curved shield. Look to the belt’s lower right to find the Orion Nebula.

10 Nov    From Orion, look up to find magnitude 1.1 Aldebaran this evening. Brilliant magnitude -2.8 Jupiter lingers to the left. Using binoculars, explore the area above and to the right of Aldebaran. You should be able to make out at least a half dozen fourth-magnitude stars.

USPS Star Calendar for 21 to 27 November 14 November 2010

Posted by amedalen in November 2010.
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21   The Pleiades Cluster is 2 finger-widths to the moon’s upper right, magnitude 1.1 Aldebaran is 4 finger-widths to the lower right, and magnitude 0.2 Capella is 2½ fist-widths to the left. Full moon at 1727 UT

22   Aldebaran is 1 fist-width to the moon’s right or upper right in the east tonight.

24   The moon rises late tonight, with Orion, the Mighty Hunter, 2 fist-widths to its right and the Gemini Twins 1 fist-width to the left. Magnitude -0.4 Mercury and magnitude 1.3 Mars are now separated by 1½ finger-widths. Try to spot magnitude 3.4 theta Ophiuchi between the two planets. Use binoculars.

25   Magnitude 0.5 Procyon is 1½ fist-widths to the moon’s right late tonight. Just before midnight, look far to the left to see the Big Dipper standing on its handle just above the horizon.

27   The moon and magnitude 1.3 Regulus, 2 finger-widths apart, rise together before midnight. Using binoculars, try to spot magnitude 4.6 31 Leonis between them. Tomorrow morning, Regulus is directly above the moon high in the south.