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USPS Star Calendar for 17-23 May 10 May 2015

Posted by amedalen in May 2015.
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18 May    Less than 24 hours past new. the moon sets not quite an hour after the sun and will be hard to spot low in the west at dusk. Look for Aldebaran ½ finger-width to the moon’s upper left. Mercury is nearly 4 finger-widths to the upper right.

20 May    The moon lies midway between Venus, 1 fist-width above, and Betelgeuse, below or to the lower left.

21 May    Low in the west at dusk, Venus is 4 finger-widths to the moon’s right. Procyon is 1 fist-width to the left or lower left.

22 May    The moon lies in the middle of a triangle formed by Venus, 1½ fist-widths to the lower right, Procyon, 1 fist-width below, and Jupiter, 1½ fist-widths to the upper left. Saturn reaches opposition at 2200 EDT. Lining up opposite the sun, it rises around sunset and sets around sunrise.

23 May    Jupiter is 2 finger-widths to the moon’s upper right tonight.

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USPS Star Calendar for 15-21 March 12 March 2015

Posted by amedalen in March 2015.
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18 Mar    The thin, waning crescent moon rises a little more than an hour before the sun, followed by Mercury less than an hour later. If you are quick, you might get a glimpse of the planet before sunrise. As the sky begins to brighten, look through your binoculars for Mercury 4 finger-widths to the moon’s left.

19 Mar    The moon is at perigee, 56.12 Earth-radii (357,584 kilometers) away. With perigee and the new moon only a few hours apart, look for tidal extremes.

20 Mar    The only total solar eclipse of 2015 occurs today; a partial eclipse is visible across Europe, Northern Africa, Greenland, Iceland and much of Russia but not the U.S.

21 Mar    Low in the west at dusk, the moon is less than 2 fist-widths above the horizon. Mars is ½ finger-width to the right.

USPS Star Calendar for 21-27 September 14 September 2014

Posted by amedalen in September 2014.
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21 Sep    The moon and Regulus rise 2½ hours before the sun. Jupiter is 1½ fist-widths above the moon, which is about 10 percent illuminated.

22 Sep    The autumnal equinox occurs at 1029 EDT.

23 Sep    The thin waning crescent moon rises a half hour before the sun. Venus is 2 finger-widths to the upper left. Less than 5 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

24 Sep    The new moon makes the next few days perfect for exploring the evening sky. In the south, Mars is 2 finger-widths to the upper right of Antares.

25 Sep    In the north tonight, the Big Dipper appears horizontal at dusk, rotates counterclockwise and is near the horizon at midnight.

26 Sep    You can catch a quick glimpse of the thin waxing crescent moon low in the west at dusk. The moon sets two hours after the sun. The moon’s surface is less than 5 percent illuminated.

27 Sep    Magnitude 0.6 Saturn is 1 finger-width to the moon’s upper left low in the west as the sky darkens.

USPS Star Calendar for 23 February-1 March 16 February 2014

Posted by amedalen in February 2014, March 2014.
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23 Feb    The moon spends the next three days traveling between Saturn and Venus. This morning Saturn is 2 fist-widths to the moon’s upper right, and Venus is 3½ fist-widths to the lower left.

24 Feb    Venus is 2 fist-widths to the moon’s lower left, and Saturn is 3½ fist-widths to the moon’s upper right.

25 Feb    The waning crescent moon is now less than 1 fist-width to Venus’ upper right. Only 25 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

26 Feb    The moon passes to Venus’s lower left today.

27 Feb    The moon is at perigee, 56.57 Earth-radii (360,000 kilometers) away. Before the sky gets too bright this morning, look for Mercury less than 2 finger-widths to the moon’s lower left. Only two days before new, the moon is less than 10 percent illuminated.

28 Feb    With a new moon early tomorrow morning, tonight is prime time for stargazing. High in the south at sunset, Jupiter is the first visible light in the evening sky. Orion stands to its lower right. Follow the three stars in Orion’s belt 2 fist-widths to the lower left to Sirius, the Dog Star, in the constellation Canis Major.

1 March   Look to the northeast at dusk to see the Big Dipper standing on its handle. The thin waxing crescent moon sets soon after the sun, making this a good opportunity to spot the Little Dipper. First find Polaris, the North Star, by following the pointer stars on the Big Dipper’s bucket 3 fist-widths to the left. Polaris marks the end of the Little Dipper’s handle. The rest of the handle arcs nearly 2 fist-widths to the lower right. The bucket hangs downward from the handle.

USPS Star Calendar for 29 December-4 January 22 December 2013

Posted by amedalen in December 2013, January 2014.
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29 Dec    The moon is 4 finger-widths to Saturn’s lower left. Less than 20 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

1 Jan    Rising a few minutes after sunset, Jupiter is high in the east by midevening. The Gemini Twins, Pollux and Castor, are less than 1 fist-width to the left, and Orion is about 3 fist-widths to the right. The bright star 2 fist-widths to the lower right is magnitude 0.5 Procyon. The new moon, only 9.8 hours old, is at perigee, 56.02 Earth-radii (357,000 kilometers) away. Check your tide tables.

2 Jan    Occurring a day after the new moon, the Quadrantids meteor shower should be above average and can be viewed over five nights. At its peak from the evening of 2 Jan. to the morning of 3 Jan, you may see 60-200 meteors per hour. For best viewing, choose a dark location after midnight. Meteors can appear anywhere in the sky but will radiate from the constellation Boötes, which rises above the eastern horizon shortly after midnight. This is the only one of the three dominant meteor showers (Quadrantids, Perseids and Geminids) on a moonless night.

4 Jan    At perihelion, Earth makes its closest approach to the sun for the year at 0.98333 AU, or about 91.4 million miles, away. An astronomical unit (92,955,807.3 miles) is the average distance from Earth to the sun.

USPS Star Calendar for 29 September-5 October 30 September 2013

Posted by amedalen in October 2013, September 2013.
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30 Sep    This morning, Mars is 1 fist-width to the moon’s lower left, and Regulus is 1 fist-width to Mars’ lower left. The moon is about 20 percent illuminated.

1 Oct    Low in the east at first light, magnitude 1.3 Regulus is 3 finger-widths to the moon’s left, and magnitude 1.6 Mars is 4 finger-widths to its upper left. Less than 20 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

2 Oct    Regulus and Mars are above the moon, low in the east before dawn.

5 Oct    New moon at 0033 UT

USPS Star Calendar for 1-7 September 25 August 2013

Posted by amedalen in September 2013.
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1 Sep    In the east before dawn, the waning crescent moon stands between the Gemini Twins, 1 fist-width to the upper left, and Procyon, the same distance to the lower right. Brilliant magnitude –2.0 Jupiter is 1 fist-width directly above the moon. Less than 20 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated. The equation of time is zero.

2 Sep    Mars is 3 finger-widths to the slivered moon’s upper left before dawn.

3 Sep    Only two days from new, the moon, about 5 percent illuminated, rises less than two hours before the sun.

5 Sep    Low in the west at dusk, the first light you see is magnitude –4.0 Venus, followed by magnitude 0.7 Saturn, 1 fist-width to the upper left, and magnitude 1.2 Spica, less than 1 finger-width to Venus’ lower left. New moon at 1136 UT

7 Sep    Only a few days old, the moon sets soon after the sun, making stargazing easier. Ursa Major, the Big Dipper, sits a little left of north with its handle pointing to the upper left. The pointer stars at the end of the bucket point toward Polaris, less than 3 fist-widths to the upper right. Looking to the right (east), you can easily make out Cassiopeia, the Lazy W constellation. Turning farther right, now facing south, you can see the Summer Triangle to Cassiopeia’s upper right. Sagittarius and Scorpius are easy to spot near the horizon. Finishing the turn, now facing west, you can see Arcturus, the bright star in the middle of the sky.

USPS Star Calendar for 4-10 August 28 July 2013

Posted by amedalen in August 2013.
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4 Aug     This morning, the moon slips past both Jupiter and Mars, now 3 finger-widths to the moon’s upper left. Magnitude –0.6 Mercury is 1 fist-width to Mars’ lower left. The moon is less than 10 percent illuminated.

5 Aug    Spotting a sliver of moon through your binoculars will be harder this morning as the moon rises only an hour before the sun. Less than 5 percent of the moon is illuminated.

6 Aug    New moon at 2151 UT

7 Aug    The moon sets within a few minutes of the sun, giving us dark evening skies for the next few evenings. Beginning at dusk, look for magnitude –4.0 Venus near the western horizon. Next, look for magnitude 0.2 Arcturus high to the upper left, more than 4 fist-widths from Venus. Magnitude 0.7 Saturn is to Arcturus’ lower left, and magnitude 1.2 Spica is to Saturn’s lower right.

8 Aug    The Scorpion hugs the southern horizon tonight. Magnitude 1.1 Antares is the constellation’s brightest star. The head and claws extend to the right, and the tail curls to the lower left. Sagittarius is to the left of the tail.

9 Aug    The sun sets an hour before the moon tonight. As the sky darkens, use your binoculars to look for magnitude –4.0 Venus 3 finger-widths to the moon’s upper right. Only 5 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

10 Aug    Farther to the left of Venus, the moon sets more than an hour and a half after the sun.

USPS Star Calendar for 7-13 July 30 June 2013

Posted by amedalen in July 2013.
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7 Jul    The moon is at apogee, 63.73 Earth-radii (253,000 miles) away.

8 Jul    New moon at 0714 UT

9 Jul    Mercury passes between Earth and the sun at inferior conjunction and will soon be visible in the morning sky.

11 Jul    Look low in the west at dusk to see magnitude 1.3 Regulus 3 finger-widths to the waxing crescent moon’s upper right and magnitude –3.9 Venus 1½ fist widths to the right. The moon is less than 10 percent illuminated.

13 Jul    In the early evening, the Big Dipper stands high in the north with its handle pointing upward. Follow the pointer stars at the bucket end 3 fist-widths to the North Star, magnitude 2.1 Polaris. Continue along that line to Cassiopeia, the Lazy W constellation.

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