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USPS Star Calendar for 14-20 June 7 June 2015

Posted by amedalen in June 2015.
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14 Jun    Before dawn, the Pleiades Cluster is less than a fist-width to the moon’s upper left.

15 Jun    Watch Jupiter and Venus line up between Regulus and Pollux in the west. At dusk, Venus becomes visible first. Jupiter is next, 4 finger-widths to the upper left. The stars come last: Pollux, 1½ fist-widths to Venus’ lower right, and Regulus, 1 fist-width to Jupiter’s upper left.

17 Jun    Early this evening, far to the upper right of brilliant Venus is the Big Dipper, its handle pointing straight up.

19 Jun    Low in the west at dusk, Venus is 3 finger-widths above the moon, while Jupiter is 3 finger-widths to Venus’ upper left. In the next few days, the planets grow closer until they pass closely on the 30th.

20 Jun    Venus and Jupiter are to the moon’s right tonight. Regulus is 4 finger-widths to the moon’s upper left.

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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.

USPS Star Calendar for 22-28 March 15 March 2015

Posted by amedalen in March 2015.
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22 Mar    The moon is a little higher in the sky this evening. Venus is 1½ finger-widths to the right.

23 Mar    The moon lies between Venus, 1½ fist-widths to the lower right, and Aldebaran, to the upper left.

24 Mar    High in the west tonight, the Pleiades Cluster is 1 fist-width to the moon’s right, Aldebaran is 2 finger-widths to its upper left, and Orion is 2½ fist-widths to the left.

26 Mar    High in the southwest at dusk, the moon lies between Orion and the Gemini Twins. Orion is below the moon, and the Gemini Twins are high above.

28 Mar    Procyon is 1 fist-width below the moon, Pollux is the same distance to the upper right, and Jupiter is 1½ fist-widths to the moon’s left.

USPS Star Calendar for 25-31 January 18 January 2015

Posted by amedalen in January 2015.
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26 Jan    High in the south early this evening, the moon is between Hamal, a little more than 1 fist-width to the upper right, and Mira, the same distance to the lower left.

28 Jan    Tonight high in the south, the Pleiades Cluster is 4 finger-widths above or to the upper right of the moon, and Aldebaran is the same distance to the left or upper left.

30 Jan    Mercury is at inferior conjunction, passing between the sun and Earth.

31 Jan    Procyon is 2 fist-widths below the moon. Look with binoculars to see second-magnitude Alhena less than 1 finger-width to the moon’s right.

USPS Star Calendar for 28 December-3 January 21 December 2014

Posted by amedalen in December 2014, January 2015.
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28 Dec    High in the south at dusk, Mars is to the far lower right of the first-quarter moon. Jupiter rises 10 minutes after Mars sets.

29 Dec    Early this evening, the waxing gibbous moon lies between two second-magnitude stars. Use binoculars to find magnitude 2.2 Mira 2 fist-widths to the moon’s upper left, and magnitude 2.2 Deneb Kaitos 3 fist-widths to the lower right. Later Mira will be directly above the moon and Deneb Kaitos will be directly below.

31 Dec    The last day of the year finds the moon high in the east at dusk with Orion and Gemini just above the eastern horizon. The moon won’t catch up with Jupiter until January.

1 Jan    High in the east at sunset, the Pleiades Cluster is 1 fist-width above or to the upper left of the moon. Aldebaran is 3 finger-widths to the lower left.

2 Jan    Gemini and Orion are high in the southeast by midnight.

3 Jan    Just after dark, Gemini is to the moon’s lower left and Orion to its lower right.

USPS Star Calendar for 30 November-6 December 23 November 2014

Posted by amedalen in December 2014, November 2014.
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30 Nov    High in the southeast at dusk, the waxing gibbous moon is 2 fist-widths above a second-magnitude star, magnitude 2.2 Deneb Kaitos. Can you see the fourth-magnitude star midway between them? You may need binoculars to make out magnitude 3.8 iota Ceti.

2 Dec    Tonight look for magnitude 2.0 Mira, 1½ fist-widths below the moon.

3 Dec    The moon is surrounded by two second-magnitude and two third-magnitude stars this evening. The brightest, magnitude 2.0 Mira is 1½ fist-widths to the lower right.  Next in brightness, magnitude 2.2 Hamal is about the same distance to the upper left. Two finger-widths to Hamal’s right is magnitude 2.7 Sheratan. Finally, magnitude 2.8 Menkar is below and slightly right of the moon. You will need binoculars to get the most out of this viewing opportunity.

4 Dec    The Pleiades Cluster is 1 fist-width to the moon’s left or upper left this evening. Aldebaran is 1½ fist-widths to the lower left. The moon is more than 90 percent illuminated.

5 Dec    The nearly full moon rises in the middle of the constellation Taurus, the Bull, shortly before sunset. The brightest star, Aldebaran, is 1 finger-width to the moon’s lower left at dusk. Passing within less than 1 degree, the moon grows closer to Aldebaran as the evening passes. At midnight, the pair stands high in the south with Aldebaran to the moon’s lower right.

6 Dec    By mid-evening the full moon is high in the east surrounded by several first-magnitude stars. Aldebaran is 1 fist-width to the upper right. Capella is nearly 3 fist-widths to the upper left. Far below Capella is Pollux, the brighter of the Gemini Twins. Orion is to the lower right of the moon with its two first-magnitude stars, Betelgeuse 1 fist-width to the moon’s lower right, and Rigel at the opposite corner, beyond the belt.

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 2-8 November 26 October 2014

Posted by amedalen in November 2014.
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2 Nov    Turn your clocks back. Daylight saving time ends this morning at 0200. Technically, the clock hour 0100 to 0200 is repeated. Déjà vu.

3 Nov    Magnitude 0.9 Mars is less than ½ finger-width above magnitude 2.9 Kaus Borealis, the uppermost star in the dome of the Teapot constellation, Sagittarius. The moon is at perigee, 57.68 Earth-radii (368,000 kilometers) away.

5 Nov    Mercury and Spica rise side by side, 1½ hours before the sun.

7 Nov    The moon forms a triangle with magnitude 1.1 Aldebaran, less than 1 fist-width to the lower left, and the Pleiades Cluster, the same distance to the upper left.

8 Nov    Aldebaran is 2 finger-widths to the moon’s upper right tonight.

USPS Star Calendar for 5-11 October 28 September 2014

Posted by amedalen in October 2014.
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5 Oct    The moon rises less than 2 hours before sunset and is high in the southwest by midnight. More than 80 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

6 Oct    The moon is at perigee, 56.83 Earth-radii (362,000 kilometers) away.

8 Oct    A total lunar eclipse will be visible for much of the U.S. before dawn as Earth’s shadow covers the full moon.

10 Oct    Rising less than 2 hours after sunset, the waning gibbous moon is high in the east by midnight. You may need binoculars to see the Pleiades Cluster is 1 fist-width to the left.

11 Oct    The moon rises 2½ hours after sunset and is followed a few minutes later by magnitude 1.1 Aldebaran. By midnight, they have climbed higher in the east with Aldebaran 1 finger-width to the moon’s lower left. The Pleiades Cluster is 1 fist-width above the moon.

USPS Star Calendar for 7-13 September 31 August 2014

Posted by amedalen in September 2014.
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8 Sep     The moon is at perigee, 56.19 Earth-radii (358,000 kilometers) away. Perigee occurs 22 hours before the full moon, so we can expect extreme tides.

10 Sep    Rising an hour after sunset, the moon is high in the southeast by midnight.

11 Sep    High in the west before dawn, the moon is three days past full, and about 95 percent of its surface is illuminated.

13 Sep    Rising more than 3 hours after sunset, the waning gibbous moon is low in the east at midnight, with the Pleiades Cluster 4 finger-widths to its upper left