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USPS Star Calendar for 5-11 April 29 March 2015

Posted by amedalen in April 2015.
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5 Apr    Only one day past full, the moon rises 1½ hours after sunset.

7 Apr    Just before midnight, the moon rises less than a half-hour before Saturn.

8 Apr    Low in the west before dawn, the moon and Saturn are in the head of the Scorpion, Scorpius. Saturn is less than a finger-width to the moon’s lower left. Antares is 4 finger-widths to Saturn’s lower left.

10 Apr    This morning the moon is above the dome of the Teapot constellation, Sagittarius. Mercury is in superior conjunction, passing on the opposite side of the sun as seen from Earth.

11 Apr    With the moon rising in the early morning, we have dark evening skies for stargazing. High in the northeast, the Big Dipper is nearly upside down. Follow the pointer stars at the end of the handle 3 fist-widths to the lower left to Polaris, the North Star. Then follow the handle’s arc 3 fist-widths to the lower right to Arcturus. Continue along the arc another 3 fist-widths to Spica. “Arc to Arcturus, then speed on to Spica.”

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USPS Star Calendar for 11-17 January 4 January 2015

Posted by amedalen in January 2015.
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11 Jan    Low in the west at dusk, Mercury passes within 0.6 degrees of Venus. Look quickly with binoculars, because the pair set 1½ hours after the sun.

13 Jan    Before dawn, the moon is 1 finger-width to Spica’s upper left.

14 Jan    At its greatest elongation east, Mercury sets more than 1½ hours after the sun. Look for Venus ½ finger-width to the left.

16 Jan    Using binoculars, look low in the east before dawn to see Saturn ½ finger width to the moon’s right.

17 Jan    The waning crescent moon rises 3 hours before the sun. Antares, the heart of the ScorpionScorpius, is 1 fist-width to the moon’s lower right. Saturn is 1½ fist-widths to the upper right.

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.

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 11-17 May 4 May 2014

Posted by amedalen in May 2014.
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11 May    Low in the east as the sky darkens, the moon lies between Mars, 4 finger-widths to the upper right, and Spica, 3 finger-widths to the lower left.

12 May    The moon passes beyond Spica this evening. Magnitude 0.1 Saturn is nearly 2 fist-widths to the lower left of the moon. 

13 May    Low in the west early this evening, Saturn is only 2 finger-widths to the nearly full moon’s lower left.

14 May    The full moon rises at sunset. Saturn is less than 1 fist-width to its upper right.

15 May    Low in the southeast before first light, Saturn is 1 fist-width to the moon’s lower right and Antares, the heart of Scorpius, is about 4 finger-widths to the lower left, just above the horizon.

17 May    Low in the southwest before first light, the moon is just above the Teapot constellation, Sagittarius. The moon sets less than 3 hours after sunrise.

USPS Star Calendar for 8-14 September 1 September 2013

Posted by amedalen in September 2013.
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8 Sep    Venus is now to Spica’s upper left, and the thin waxing crescent moon is less than 1 finger-width to Venus’ left. All three occupy a 1½-finger-width diameter circle.

9 Sep    Magnitude 0.7 Saturn is 3 finger-widths to the moon’s right. Less than 20 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

11 Sep    The moon is 3 finger-widths above Antares, the red-orange heart of Scorpius.

12 Sep    First-quarter moon at 1708 UT

13 Sep    The waxing gibbous moon is above the Teapot constellation Sagittarius. 

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 11-17 August 4 August 2013

Posted by amedalen in August 2013.
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11 Aug    Tonight, the bright star 2 finger-widths to the moon’s upper left is magnitude 1.2 Spica. The Perseid meteor shower peaks over the next few nights. Viewing will be better after the moon sets, 2 to 3 hours after sunset.

12 Aug    Magnitude 0.7 Saturn is 2 finger-widths to the moon’s upper left tonight. Spica is 4 finger-widths to the moon’s lower right. About 25 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

13 Aug    The moon is in the constellation Libra, the Scales, this evening. With binoculars, you should have no trouble spotting magnitude 2.9 Zubenelgenubi, less than 1 finger-width to the moon’s right. The moon is about one-third illuminated.

14 Aug    The first-quarter moon (1056 UT) stands to the right of Scorpius, the head of the Scorpion constellation.

15 Aug    Antares is 4 finger-widths to the moon’s lower right tonight.

16 Aug    The moon stands above the top of Sagittarius, the Teapot constellation.

17 Aug    Rising 3 hours before sunset, the waxing gibbous moon is low in the south in the early evening with magnitude 0.9 Altair 3 fist-widths to the upper left. Only 3 days from full, the moon is about 80 percent illuminated.

USPS Star Calendar for 14-20 July 7 July 2013

Posted by amedalen in July 2013.
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14 Jul    Low in the southwest at dusk, the bright star 4 fist-widths above the waxing crescent moon is magnitude 0.2 Arcturus in the constellation Boötes, the Herdsman. The Big Dipper is far to the moon’s upper right. Follow the arc of the dipper’s handle to Arcturus, and continue on until you see magnitude 1.2 Spica.

15 Jul    Tonight the moon passes within ½ finger-width of magnitude 1.2 Spica. Viewers in Hawaii will see the moon occult Spica.

16 Jul    Magnitude 0.6 Saturn is 2 finger-widths to the moon’s upper right tonight. First-quarter moon at 0318 UT

18 Jul    The moon is in the head of Scorpius, the Scorpion, this evening. Magnitude 1.1 Antares, the Heart of the Scorpion, is 3 finger-widths to the lower left.

19 Jul    The waxing gibbous moon rises 3 hours before sunset and is low in the south as the sun sinks below the western horizon. Traveling across the night sky, the moon sets a little more than two hours before sunrise tomorrow. More than 80 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

USPS Star Calendar for 16-22 June 9 June 2013

Posted by amedalen in June 2013.
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16 Jun    High in the southwest at dusk, the first-quarter moon sits between Regulus, 3 fist-widths to the right or lower right, and Spica, 2 fist-widths to the left. Venus and Mercury pass close to each other during the next few evenings. Tonight Venus is 1½ finger-widths to Mercury’s lower right. On this day in 1963, Valentina Tereschkova became the first woman in space.

17 Jun    Moving closer, the moon is about 1 fist-width to Spica’s right tonight. Can you make out dim stars between the moon and Spica? You will need good binoculars to see magnitude 4.9 psi Virginis and magnitude 5.3 49 Virginis. 

18 Jun    The waxing gibbous moon is high in the south at sunset. Magnitude 1.2 Spica is 2 finger-widths to the upper right, and magnitude 0.4 Saturn is 4 finger-widths to the upper left. Low in the west, Venus is 1 finger-width to the right of Mercury. About two-thirds of the moon is illuminated.

19 Jun    Saturn is 4 finger-widths to the moon’s upper right tonight.

20 Jun    Tonight, the moon is to the right of Scorpius, the head of the Scorpion. Low in the west at dusk, Mercury is 1.9 degrees to the lower left of Venus.

21 Jun    Magnitude 1.1 Antares, the heart of the Scorpion, is 3 finger-widths to the moon’s lower right tonight. The summer solstice occurs at 0504 UT, as the sun reaches the point farthest north of the celestial equator.