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USPS Star Calendar for 20-26 April 13 April 2014

Posted by amedalen in April 2014.
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20 Apr    Easter Sunday is intended to be the Sunday after the full moon on or after the vernal equinox, assuming the equinox is on 21 March. (It can actually occur between 19-21 March.) The date assumed for the full moon also may not coincide with the astronomical date. As a result, the date of Easter is determined by a formula, Golden Numbers and Epacts, and may fall on any Sunday between 22 March and 25 April.

21 Apr    Low in the south before dawn, the moon is midway between Saturn, 6 fist-widths to the right, and Venus, the same distance to the left. The moon is about two-thirds illuminated.

23 Apr    The moon is at perigee, 57.97 Earth-radii (370,000 kilometers) away.

25 Apr    Look quickly before sunrise to see Venus 2 finger-widths below the moon.

26 Apr    Venus and the moon rise within 5 minutes of each other this morning. The moon is about 10 percent illuminated.

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USPS Star Calendar for 16-22 March 9 March 2014

Posted by amedalen in March 2014.
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16 Mar    The full moon rises two hours before magnitude 0.9 Mars. Magnitude 1.2 Spica rises at the same time as Mars, 2½ finger-widths to the right.

17 Mar    The moon rises less than an hour before Mars and Spica this evening.

18 Mar    Tonight Mars and Spica rise less than 15 minutes before the moon. They form a tight triangle that you can cover with two fingers held at arm’s length.

19 Mar    The moon rises more than three hours after sunset. Saturn follows an hour later.

20 Mar    The vernal equinox occurs at 1657 UT as the sun crosses the celestial equator into the Northern Hemisphere, resulting in nearly equal amounts of day and night throughout the world. This marks the first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere and the first day of fall in the Southern Hemisphere. Late tonight, Saturn rises less than 10 minutes before the moon, separated by less than 1 finger-width. The moon is low in the south before dawn with Mars nearly 2 fist-widths to the right and Saturn 4 finger-widths to the left.

21 Mar    Saturn is 2 finger-widths to the moon’s right this morning. Over the next few days, the moon travels the morning sky right to left, from Saturn to Venus.

22 Mar    Antares is 3 finger-widths below the moon before dawn. Saturn is nearly 2 fist-widths to the right. Venus is far to the lower left.

USPS Star Calendar for 17-23 March 10 March 2013

Posted by amedalen in March 2013.
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17 Mar    The waxing crescent moon lies between magnitude -2.2 Jupiter, less than 1 finger-width to the upper right, and magnitude 1.1 Aldebaran, less than 2 finger-widths to the lower left.

18 Mar    The moon is midway between magnitude 0.2 Capella, 2½ fist-widths to the upper right, and magnitude 0.3 Rigel, to the lower left. Several other bright first-magnitude stars are nearby tonight: magnitude 0.6 Betelgeuse 1½ fist-widths to the left, magnitude 1.1 Aldebaran 1 fist-width below, magnitude 0.5 Procyon 3½ fist-widths to the upper left.

19 Mar    The first-quarter moon is at apogee, 63.38 earth-radii or 404,000 kilometers away.

20 Mar    The vernal equinox occurs at 1102 UT as the sun crosses the celestial equator, headed north, marking the first day of spring for the northern hemisphere, when day and night are approximately equal all over the world. “Equinox” comes to us from the Latin, meaning “equal night.” The precise date of equal day and night depends on your location, however. If you are at 60 degrees north latitude, day and night are equal on 18 March. If you are between 40 and 55 degrees north latitude, your date is 17 March. Between 30 and 35 degrees, it’s 16 March. The date becomes earlier the closer you are to the equator.

21 Mar    High in the south at dusk, Orion is far to the waxing gibbous moon’s lower right, while the Gemini Twins are to the upper left and Procyon is to the lower left. The Big Dipper stands on its handle high in the northwest.

22 Mar    The moon hangs high in the south as the sky darkens this evening. Procyon is 1 fist-width to the lower left, and the Gemini Twins are the same distance above. Far to the lower left, Regulus is the brightest object in that area of sky.

23 Mar    Rising 3½ hours before sunset, the moon is high in the southeast at dusk. Regulus is 4 finger-widths to the left, and the Big Dipper stands on its handle to the far left. As evening passes, the Big Dipper rotates counter-clockwise and is upside-down, high in the north at midnight.

USPS Star Calendar for 8-14 April 1 April 2012

Posted by amedalen in April 2012.
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8 Apr    Although Easter is intended to be the Sunday after the full moon or vernal equinox, assumptions in this rule do not necessarily correspond with celestial events. The vernal equinox, assumed to be on 21 March, could occur on 19 or 20 March as well. The date assumed for the full moon also may not coincide with the actual astronomical date, which means Easter could fall anywhere from 22 March to 25 April—a 35-day span.

10 Apr    Low in the south before dawn, Antares, the heart of the Scorpion, is 2 finger-widths to the moon’s lower right.

11 Apr    Rising early, the moon is high in the south at first light with Antares far to the lower right and Sagittarius to the lower left.

14 Apr    High in the west after sunset, magnitude 0.9 Aldebaran is less than 1 fist-width to brilliant Venus’ lower left.

USPS Star Calendar for 18-24 March 11 March 2012

Posted by amedalen in March 2012.
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20 Mar    Jupiter and Venus are now more than 3 finger-widths apart. Today is the first day of spring, the vernal equinox. The sun crosses the celestial equator into the northern celestial hemisphere at 0513 UT.

24 Mar    Low in the west at sunset, the thin waxing crescent moon sets less than 1½ hours after the sun. Magnitude -2.1 Jupiter is 1 fist-width to the moon’s upper left, and magnitude -4.3 Venus is nearly 1 fist-width above Jupiter.

USPS Star Calendar for 20 to 26 March 13 March 2011

Posted by amedalen in March 2011.
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20 Mar    Tonight, the moon and Spica rise side by side only 1½ finger-widths apart. Traveling together across the night sky, they are low in the southwest at daybreak. Saturn is 1 fist-width to their upper right. The vernal equinox occurs at 2321 UT as the sun crosses the celestial equator into the northern celestial hemisphere, marking the first day of spring.

21 Mar    The moon rises 2 hours after Saturn, which is more than 2 fist-widths away. Spica lies between them.

23 Mar    The moon is to the right of the constellation Scorpius low in the south before dawn. Mercury reaches its greatest elongation, 18.6 degrees east of the sun, and sets 2½ hours after the sun.

24 Mar    Antares, the red heart of Scorpius, is 1 finger-width below the waning gibbous moon this morning. About three-fourths of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

26 Mar    The moon is above the dome of the Teapot constellation, Sagittarius, and magnitude 2.9 Kaus Borealis is 1 finger-width below the moon. Last-quarter moon at 1207 UT