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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 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 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 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.

USPS Star Calendar for 8-14 July 1 July 2012

Posted by amedalen in July 2012.
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9 Jul    Venus is less than ½ finger-width from Aldebaran low in the east before dawn.

11 Jul    Magnitude 1.1 Aldebaran is ½ finger-width to the right of magnitude -4.5 Venus low in the east at first light. 

13 Jul    The moon is at apogee, 63.47 Earth-radii (405,000 kilometers) away.

14 Jul    The moon rises less than 3 hours before the sun. Before dawn, the Seven Sisters or Pleiades Cluster is 2 finger-widths to the moon’s upper left. Magnitude -2.1 Jupiter is 3 finger-widths to the moon’s lower left, and magnitude -4.5 Venus is 3 finger-widths below Jupiter. Magnitude 1.1 Aldebaran is 1 finger-width to Venus’ upper right. About 20 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated.