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USPS Star Calendar for 17-23 August 10 August 2014

Posted by amedalen in August 2014.
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17 Aug    This morning, Jupiter rises 5 minutes after Venus, less than a half a finger-width away. High in the southeast before dawn, the last-quarter moon forms a line with 3 first-magnitude stars: magnitude 1.1 Aldebaran 1½ fist-widths to the lower left, magnitude 0.6 Betelgeuse 2 fist-widths beyond Aldebaran, and magnitude 0.5 Procyon 2½ fist-widths farther, near the horizon.

18 Aug    Rising a minute later than Jupiter, Venus slides to Jupiter’s left this morning as they pass within 0.21 degrees. Aldebaran is 2 finger-widths to the waning crescent moon’s lower left. The Pleiades Cluster is 1 fist-width above the moon.

19 Aug    Venus quickly falls away from Jupiter. Separated by a half a finger-width, Venus rises 6 minutes after Jupiter. Betelgeuse is 1½ fist-widths below the moon this morning.

20 Aug    Before dawn Betelgeuse is 1 fist-width to the moon’s lower right, and Procyon is 2½ fist-widths below the moon.

21 Aug    The Gemini Twins, Pollux and Castor, are 1½ fist-widths to the moon’s left before dawn. Pollux is the brighter twin. The second-magnitude star 2 finger-widths to the moon’s upper right is magnitude 1.9 Alhena, also in Gemini. Low in the south early tonight, Mars and Saturn are 1½ fist-widths to the right of Scorpius’ head. Mars is 2 finger-widths to Saturn’s lower right and slides to the left during the next few nights.

22 Aug    The waning crescent moon lies between Procyon, 1 fist-width to the lower right, and Pollux, a little farther to the upper left. Less than 10 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

23 Aug    Rising 1½ hours before the sun, the moon, Venus and Jupiter are clustered within 4 finger-widths near the horizon at first light. Mars is directly below Saturn tonight. The third-magnitude star 1 finger-width to Mars’ upper right is magnitude 2.9 Zubenelgenubi, which represents the top of Libra’s scales.

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USPS Star Calendar for 20-26 July 13 July 2014

Posted by amedalen in July 2014.
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21 Jul    High in the east before dawn, the Pleiades Cluster is 4 finger-widths to the waning crescent moon’s upper left, and magnitude 1.1 Aldebaran is a little more than 1 fist-width to the lower left.

22 Jul    The waning crescent moon passes within half a finger-width of Aldebaran this morning.

24 Jul    The thin waning crescent moon and Venus rise side-by-side less than 2 hours before sunrise. Mercury rises a half hour later. All three should be visible low in the east before the sky brightens.

25 Jul    Rising after Mercury this morning, a thin sliver of moon is 2 finger-widths to the planet’s lower right.

26 Jul    The equation of time reaches a shallow minimum of –6.54 minutes.

USPS Star Calendar for 22-28 June 15 June 2014

Posted by amedalen in June 2014.
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23 Jun    The moon rises 2½ hours before the sun this morning and is followed 40 minutes later by magnitude -3.9 Venus about 1 fist-width to the lower left. The Pleiades Cluster is 3 finger-widths to Venus’ upper left.

24 Jun    The moon and Venus rise together this morning, less than 2 hours before the sun. The moon is only 1 finger-width to Venus’ lower right. The moon is only 10 percent illuminated.

25 Jun    The moon rises just before the sun for the next few days, giving us dark evenings for stargazing. Let’s look at some of the night sky’s less obvious features. Start in the west with the constellation Leo, the Lion, whose brightest star, magnitude 1.3 Regulus, is easy to spot. How many of the other stars can you see with your  binoculars? Most are third magnitude and dimmer except for one second-magnitude star, magnitude 2.2 Denebola, 2½ fist-widths to Regulus’ upper left.

26 Jun    Look high overhead tonight. Find Arcturus by following the arc of the Big Dipper’s handle. Arcturus is the brightest star of the constellation Boötes, the Herdsman. Many believe that Boötes looks more like a kite. None of the stars are brighter than third magnitude.

27 Jun    Turning to the south, Scorpius, the Scorpion, dominates the area near the horizon. Magnitude 1.1 Antares is its only first-magnitude star.

28 Jun    Low in the west after sunset, magnitude -1.8 Jupiter is 2 finger-widths to the very thin moon’s upper right. The moon sets less than an hour after the sun.

USPS Star Calendar for 30 March-5 April 23 March 2014

Posted by amedalen in April 2014, March 2014.
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30 Mar    Look for Jupiter and Mars in the evening sky. Jupiter is high in the south at dusk. Mars rises above the horizon nearly an hour after sunset. By midnight, Jupiter has slipped west and Mars is high in the southeast.

3 Apr    High in the west at sunset, magnitude 1.1 Aldebaran is 2 finger-widths to the moon’s upper left and the Pleiades Cluster is 1 fist-width to the lower right. Orion is 2½ fist-widths to the left. Only three days past new, the moon is 10 percent illuminated.

4 Apr    The moon sits between Aldebaran, 1 fist-width to the lower right, and Jupiter, a little more than 2 fist-widths to the upper left. Betelgeuse is 1½ fist-widths to the left.

USPS Star Calendar for 2-8 March 23 February 2014

Posted by amedalen in March 2014.
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3 Mar    The waxing crescent moon sets three hours after the sun. Less than 10 percent illuminated, the moon is surrounded by three second-magnitude stars: Alpheratz, 2½ fist-widths to the right; Mira, 2 fist-widths to the upper left; and Hamal, 2 fist-widths above.

4 Mar    Tonight the moon lies between Mira and Hamal. If you are far away from city lights, you should be able to spot the third-magnitude star 2 finger-widths below Hamal, magnitude 2.7 Sheratan. Both stars are in the constellation Aries, the Ram.

6 Mar    In the early evening, the Pleiades Cluster is 3 finger-widths to the moon’s upper right high in the west. About 25 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

7 Mar    As the sky darkens and the stars become visible, look for Aldebaran, 1 finger-width below the moon high in the southwest at sunset.

8 Mar    Several first-magnitude stars and a planet surround the moon high in the south at sunset: Magnitude 0.6 Betelgeuse is 1 fist-width to the lower left; magnitude 1.1 Aldebaran is 1 fist-width to the lower right; magnitude 0.2 Capella is 2½ fist-widths to the upper right; and magnitude –2.4 Jupiter is 1½ fist-widths to the upper left.

USPS Star Calendar for 2-8 February 26 January 2014

Posted by amedalen in February 2014.
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2 Feb     Low in the west at dusk, the thin waxing crescent moon sets about four hours after the sun. With the moon less than 10 percent illuminated, tonight is good for stargazing. Magnitude –2.6 Jupiter dominates the eastern sky, outshining its closest neighbors, the Gemini Twins, Pollux and Castor, 1 fist-width to the lower left.

3 Feb    The moon sets a little later tonight, but we still have prime early evening stargazing. Orion lies on its side to Jupiter’s right. Look to the lower right of Orion’s belt to see the Orion Nebula, a birthplace of stars. To the naked eye, the Nebula appears as a fuzzy cloud, but it’s much clearer with binoculars.

4 Feb     The waxing crescent moon sits high in the west at dusk. Try to spot second-magnitude star magnitude 2.2 Deneb Kaitos 3 fist-widths to the lower left. The brightest object in the area, it should be easy to find.

6 Feb     The first-quarter moon is high in the southeast at dusk.

7 Feb     The moon lies midway between the Pleiades, 3 finger-widths to the upper right, and Aldebaran, the same distance to the left.

8 Feb     The waxing gibbous moon moves to Aldebaran’s left tonight. Jupiter is 2½ fist-widths farther left, and Orion is directly below the moon, which is two-thirds illuminated.

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 8-14 December 1 December 2013

Posted by amedalen in December 2013.
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9 Dec    The first-quarter moon is high in the south at sunset. Look for Fomalhaut 3 fist-widths below, near the horizon.

10 Dec    Venus reaches its brightest for the year at magnitude –4.9.

11 Dec    The waxing gibbous moon spends the evening traversing the southern sky setting well after midnight. About two-thirds of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

14 Dec    Rising an hour before sunset, the moon is low in the southeast in the early evening. The Pleiades Cluster is 3 finger-widths to the upper left and Aldebaran, the eye of Taurus, the Bull, is more than 1 fist-width to the lower left.

USPS Star Calendar for 17-23 November 10 November 2013

Posted by amedalen in November 2013.
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17 Nov    The full moon rises within a few minutes of sunset with the Pleiades Cluster to its upper left. At midnight, the Pleiades Cluster is above the moon with Aldebaran to the lower left and Orion near the horizon.

18 Nov    The moon rises an hour after sunset with Aldebaran less than 2 finger-widths to the right or upper right. Still in Sagittarius, Venus passes within a fraction of a degree below magnitude 2.1 Nunki, in the handle of the Teapot.  Comet ISON passes close to Spica low in the west before dawn. Moving 2–3 degrees a day, the comet may already have an impressive tail.

19 Nov    Nearing Mercury, Comet ISON is a few degrees to Spica’s lower left.

20 Nov    Rising 3 hours after sunset, the moon is to Orion’s left. Then rising a half-hour later, Jupiter and the Gemini Twins are to the moon’s lower left.

21 Nov    Tonight, Jupiter rises a few minutes before the moon, which is less than 3 finger-widths to the lower right with the Gemini Twins a little farther to the left. Comet ISON may be as bright as magnitude 1.8 this morning.

22 Nov    The moon is at apogee, 63.57 Earth-radii (405,000 kilometers) from Earth.

USPS Star Calendar for 20-26 October 13 October 2013

Posted by amedalen in October 2013.
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20 Oct    The waning gibbous moon rises alongside the Pleiades Cluster a little more than an hour after sunset. By midnight, they are high in the east with the Seven Sisters 4 finger-widths to the moon’s left.

21 Oct    Magnitude 1.1 Aldebaran is 2 finger-widths below the moon tonight, and the Seven Sisters are 1 fist-width above, which is a good time to take a closer look at the Pleiades Cluster.

23 Oct    The moon and Orion rise 3½ hours after sunset and are near the eastern horizon at midnight.

24 Oct    The moon and Orion are high in the south before first light. Jupiter is 1½ fist-widths to the moon’s upper left. This evening, the moon rises an hour before midnight, followed by Jupiter soon thereafter.

25 Oct    Before dawn, look for Jupiter 3 finger-widths to the moon’s upper left. The Gemini Twins are above Jupiter. The moon is at apogee, 63.43 Earth-radii (405,000 kilometers) away.

26 Oct    The moon is 1 fist-width to Jupiter’s lower left in the east with magnitude 0.5 Procyon 1 fist-width below.