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USPS Star Calendar for 16-22 November 9 November 2014

Posted by amedalen in November 2014.
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16 Nov    The moon rises early tomorrow morning, so dark skies tonight make exploration a little easier. Look high in the west 3 or 4 hours after sunset. The Summer Triangle, made up of the only first-magnitude stars in the area, dominates the western sky. The brightest, magnitude 0.1 Vega, forms the lower right corner of the triangle. The next brightest, magnitude 0.9 Altair, anchors the lower left corner, a little more than 3 fist-widths to Vega’s left or lower left. Magnitude 1.3 Deneb sits at the triangle’s top, a little more than 2 fist-widths above or to the upper left of Vega.

17 Nov    Only two first-magnitude stars are in the east tonight. The brightest is magnitude 0.2 Capella. Three fist-widths to its lower right is magnitude 1.1 Aldebaran. The moonless sky gives us the perfect chance for a good view of the Pleiades Cluster, the Seven Sisters. With your naked eye, look a little more than 1 fist-width above Aldebaran and see how many of the sisters you can spot. Now look with your binoculars.

19 Nov    Low in the east before dawn, Spica is 1 finger-width below the waning crescent moon, which is only 10 percent illuminated.

20 Nov    Edwin Hubble was born on this day in 1889. Among his greater contributions to astronomy was the confirmation that the Milky Way is just one of billions of galaxies in the visible universe. He also discovered that the universe is expanding in all directions, relative to everything else in the universe. In recognition of his achievements, NASA named its large space telescope for him.

21 Nov    Only one day before new, the moon sets a few minutes after sunset, making for dark skies and good viewing opportunities. About 4 hours after sunset, Orion and Gemini appear above the eastern horizon. To the north, the Big Dipper is just above the horizon. For viewers in southern states, the Big Dipper is below the horizon.


USPS Star Calendar for 14-20 October 7 October 2012

Posted by amedalen in October 2012.
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14 Oct    Following a line from the Big Dipper’s pointer stars through and beyond Polaris brings us to Cassiopeia, the Lazy W constellation. In Greek mythology, she was the wife of King Cepheus and mother of Andromeda. In Roman myth, Cassiopeia was chained to her throne as punishment for her boastfulness. To Arab astronomers, Cassiopeia’s stars formed the main part of the Camel constellation.

17 Oct    The moon is at perigee, 56.55 Earth-radii (361,000 kilometers) away.

18 Oct    Low in the west at dusk, magnitude 1.2 Mars is 3 finger-widths to the thin, waxing crescent moon’s lower right. Less than 2 finger-widths to Mars’ lower left sits its red rival, magnitude 1.1 Antares. Using binoculars, compare their colors. Don’t dally, because they sink below the horizon within two hours of sunset.

19 Oct    Low in the southwest at dusk, the waxing crescent moon is just above the dome of the Teapot constellation, Sagittarius. Arab astronomers saw these stars as ostriches on their way to drink from the Milky Way. The moon’s surface is 20 percent illuminated.

20 Oct    Having moved to the left, the moon is above the handle of the Teapot. The star 3 finger-widths to the moon’s lower left is magnitude 2.1 Nunki.