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USPS Star Calendar for 10-16 August 3 August 2014

Posted by amedalen in August 2014.
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10 Aug    The moon is at perigee, 55.96 Earth-radii (357,000 kilometers) away. The closest perigee of the year occurs less than a half hour before the full moon. Check your tide tables for extreme tides.

11 Aug    The Perseid meteor shower peaks during the next few evenings. Unfortunately, the nearly full moon will outshine the meteors.

12 Aug    Rising an hour after sunset, the moon is low in the southeast by midnight.

13 Aug    High in the west before dawn, the bright star 6 fist-widths to the moon’s right is magnitude 1.3 Deneb, the brightest star in the constellation Cygnus, the Swan.

15 Aug    Low in the east before dawn, magnitude –3.9 Venus rises 15 minutes before magnitude –1.8 Jupiter, 1 finger-width away.

16 Aug    Venus and Jupiter rise 10 minutes apart this morning and are separated by less than a finger-width.

USPS Star Calendar for 18-24 August 11 August 2013

Posted by amedalen in August 2013.
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19 Aug    The waxing gibbous moon is at perigee, 56.8 Earth-radii (225,000 miles) away.

21 Aug    Full moon at 0145 UT

22 Aug    Rising less than an hour after sunset, the moon is high in the southwest at midnight. Lean back and look straight up; the two bright stars directly overhead are magnitude 0.1 Vega in the constellation Lyra, the Lyre, and magnitude 1.3 Deneb in the constellation Cygnus, the Swan. Both are part of the Summer Triangle.

24 Aug    Rising two hours after sunset, the waxing gibbous moon is low in the east by midnight. The brightest nearby stars are magnitude 2.1 Alpheratz 3 fist-widths above the moon, magnitude 2.2 Hamal 1½ fist-widths to the left and magnitude 2.3 Almach 3 fist-widths to the upper left. The slightly brighter star 1½ fist-widths to the lower left of Almach is magnitude 1.9 Mirfak in the constellation Perseus, the Hero.

USPS Star Calendar for 16-22 December 9 December 2012

Posted by amedalen in December 2012.
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16 Dec    In the southwest at dusk, the thin waxing crescent moon is about 10 percent illuminated.

18 Dec    High in the southwest early tonight, magnitude 1.3 Deneb in the constellation Cygnus, the Swan, is more than 5 fist-widths to the moon’s upper right. In one story, Orpheus, who sang and played his lyre so beautifully that wild animals and trees came to hear him, was transformed into a Swan after his death and placed next to his lyre, Lyra.

20 Dec    The Great Square of Pegasus is above the first-quarter moon at dusk.

21 Dec    High in the south tonight, the moon is surrounded by many lower-magnitude stars. About 3 hours after sunset, magnitude 2.1 Alpheratz is a little more than 2 fist-widths to the moon’s upper right. Magnitude 2.0 Mira is 2 fist-widths to the moon’s lower left. Magnitude 2.2 Deneb Kaitos is 3 fist-widths below the moon, and magnitude 2.2 Hamal is 1½ fist-widths to the moon’s upper left. Today marks the first day of winter, the winter solstice, as the sun reaches its farthest distance below the celestial equator. This is the last day of the 13th baktun in the Long Count of the Mayan Calendar. The official end is 1111 UT.

22 Dec    Today is the first day of the 14th baktun in the Long Count of the Mayan Calendar.

USPS Star Calendar for 2-8 December 25 November 2012

Posted by amedalen in December 2012.
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2 Dec    By midnight, the moon sits high in the east with magnitude 0.5 Procyon 1 fist-width to the right, the Gemini Twins 1½ fist-widths to the upper left, and the Big Dipper standing on its handle far to the lower left.

3 Dec    Jupiter is at opposition (on the opposite side of the earth from the sun).

4 Dec    Late tonight, Regulus is nearly 3 finger-widths to the waning gibbous moon’s left. About 75 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated. Mercury reaches its greatest elongation 20.5 degrees west of the sun, which means it sets nearly an hour after the sun.

5 Dec    High in the south before dawn, Regulus is 2 finger-widths above the moon. Using binoculars, see if you can spot the two stars between them, magnitude 4.9 pi Leonis and magnitude 4.6 31 Leonis

6 Dec    With the moon rising well after midnight, tonight’s dark skies make for good stargazing. At dusk, look for Cygnus, the Swan, high in the west at dusk. First find the Summer Triangle’s three bright stars: Altair at the lower left corner, Vega at the lower right corner, and Deneb at the top. Magnitude 2.3 Sadr is 3 finger-widths to Deneb’s lower left. The two stars 4 finger-widths at right angles from Sadr make up the wings. Continuing in a straight line from Deneb through Sadr another 1½ fist-widths completes the neck and head of the Swan.

8 Dec    During the next few days, look to the southeast before dawn as the moon passes by one star and three planets: Spica, Saturn, Venus and Mercury. This morning, the moon, the star and the planets line up from the upper right to the lower left. From the moon, measure 1 fist-width to the lower left to magnitude 1.2 Spica. Moving another fist-width to the lower left takes us to magnitude 0.6 Saturn. One more fist-width brings us to magnitude -4.0 Venus. Finally, 3 finger-widths beyond Venus is magnitude -0.5 Mercury.