Farewell, Stargazer

Arnold Joseph Medalen
March 22, 1949–April 11, 2017

Arnold Medalen began writing articles about stargazing for The Ensign magazine in 1997, first as Modern Navigator and later as the Stargazer. In the 20 years he wrote for The Ensign, Arnold provided readers with a regular source of stargazing information and inspiration. He will be greatly missed.

Arnold leaves behind Patricia, his wife of nearly 47 years; his daughter, Shelly; two grandchildren, Josephine, 7, and Kenneth, 5; and two brothers, Charles of Riverside, California, and John of Campbell, California.

Arnold Medalen and Purcy

Arnold and Patricia met as teenagers on a blind date and were inseparable from that point on. They married on July 10, 1970. Arnold received his Bachelors of Science degree in biology the following June, and their daughter, Shelly, was born that September.

Not long after graduating, Arnold began working for E&J Gallo Winery as a lab tech and finished his 33-year career with Gallo as a senior winemaker.

In retirement, Arnold became a substitute teacher for the Sylvan School District in Modesto, California, teaching middle school math and science.

An avid boater, Arnold joined California’s San Joaquin Delta Power Squadron in 1986. In 1997 Arnold was awarded Boater of the Year for his contribution to safe boating education.

After selling their boat, Arnold and Patricia decided to try RV-ing. They purchased a 40-foot Monaco Windsor and took many trips, making sure to plan one big trip each year with granddaughter, Josephine. Together, Arnold, Patricia, Josephine, and Purcy the cat visited Yellowstone, the Black Hills of South Dakota, Mount Rushmore, and planned to travel to the Grand Canyon this summer.

Through his column, Arnold shared his love of astronomy with members for two decades, and we hope that when you view the total eclipse this August or anytime you look up at the stars, you will take just a moment to remember his contributions to United States Power Squadrons.

 Windows To The Universe
This is a great source for basic astronomy and mythology with information for beginner, intermediate and advanced stargazers of all ages.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration
This NASA site covers everything space, including information about spaceflight and astronomy.

Stargazing Basics from Sky & Telescope
This site is for those just getting started in stargazing as well as more experienced stargazers who want to expand their viewing experience.

Space.com
This site has a variety of information about news, space flight and other space topics.

U. S. Naval Observatory & Astronomical Applications Department
These sites will interest more advanced stargazers; they include rise and set times for the sun and moon, as well as moon phases, eclipses, seasons and other data.

August 2017

Star calendar August 2017

1 Aug    Magnitude 0.96 Antares, the heart of the Scorpion, is less than 1 fist-width below the moon low in the south at dusk. Magnitude 0.3 Saturn is 1½ fist-widths to the lower left.

2 Aug    Saturn is less than 2 finger-widths to the moon’s lower left. The moon is at apogee, 63.51 Earth-radii away.

6 Aug    Rising a half hour before sunset, the moon forms a straight line with Altair, nearly 3 fist-widths above the moon, and Vega, another 3 fist-widths beyond Altair. These stars make up two-thirds of the Summer Triangle. The last star, Deneb, is about 2 fist-widths to Altair’s lower left.

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Total solar eclipse to throw shade on U.S.

By Arnold Medalen

Nature’s most dramatic phenomenon—a total solar eclipse—occurs on Aug. 21, 2017. The last total solar eclipse visible in the continental United States occurred on Feb. 26, 1979, nearly four decades ago. The last solar eclipse with totality visible across the continental U.S. occurred 99 years ago.

Totality covers a 70-mile-wide path, making landfall on the northern Oregon coast at about 10:15 a.m. PDT and moving offshore in South Carolina at 2:48 p.m. EDT. The longest duration of totality will be 2 minutes 40.2 seconds in southern Illinois, near Carbondale.

The beginning of the eclipse, called “first contact,” starts more than an hour before totality when the moon’s edge first appears to touch the sun’s edge. “Second contact” occurs when the moon just covers the sun, which lasts until the sun begins to uncover at “third contact.” At “fourth contact,” the last portion of the sun is uncovered, and the eclipse is over.

To see if your location will be in the path of totality, important safety information and much more, visit eclipse2017.nasa.gov.

Don’t despair if you’re not in the path of totality. The continental U.S. will see at least a 55 percent eclipse, which is an experience you’ll always remember.

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Star calendar July 2017

Star calendar July 2017

1 Jul    Jupiter is less than 1 fist-width to the moon’s lower right at sunset. Spica is 3 finger-widths to the lower left. Arcturus is 2½ fist-widths above the moon.

3 Jul    Earth is at aphelion, 1.01668 AU from the sun.

5 Jul    At dusk, Antares is less than 1 fist-width to the moon’s lower right, and Saturn is a little more than 1 fist-width to the lower left.

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Star calendar June 2017

Star calendar June 2017

1 Jun     The first-quarter moon lies between magnitude 1.4 Regulus, 2 fist-widths to the right, and magnitude -2.2 Jupiter, 2½ fist-widths to the lower left.

2 Jun     Tonight Jupiter is 1 fist-width to the moon’s lower left.

3 Jun     The moon passes less than 1 finger-width to Jupiter’s upper left tonight. The bright star 1 fist-width to the moon’s lower left is magnitude 1.0 Spica.

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Star calendar May 2017

Star calendar May 2017

1 May     High in the west at dusk, Procyon is 1 fist-width to the waxing crescent moon’s lower left. Pollux is 1 fist-width to the upper right. Dimmer magnitude 1.93 Castor is 2 finger-widths to the right of Pollux.

3 May     Magnitude 1.4 Regulus is only 2 finger-widths to the left of the first-quarter moon at dusk.

7 May     The waxing gibbous moon is 1 finger-width to the lower left of magnitude -1.4 Jupiter. Magnitude 0.98 Spica is 4 finger-widths below the moon.

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Star Calendar April 2017

Star calendar April 2017

1 Apr     High in the west at dusk, Orion is to the lower left of the waxing crescent moon. Magnitude 0.5 Betelgeuse is 1 fist-width to the left while magnitude 0.85 Aldebaran is almost 1 fist-width to the lower right. Mercury, at its greatest elongation, 19 degrees east of the sun, sets more than 1½ hours after the sun and can be seen low in the west at evening twilight.

2 Apr     Betelgeuse is 1 fist-width below the moon at dusk.

3 Apr     High in the south at sunset, magnitude 0.46 Procyon is 1 fist-width to the first-quarter moon’s lower left. Magnitude 1.22 Pollux is the same distance to the upper left. The bright star 3½ fist-widths below the moon is magnitude -1.09 Sirius, the Dog Star.

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March 2017 star calendar

Star calendar March 2017

1 Mar     Low in the west at dusk, magnitude -4.2 Venus is 1½ fist-widths to the thin waxing crescent moon’s lower right. Magnitude 1.3 Mars is 2 finger-widths to the right.

3 Mar     The moon is at perigee, 369,000 kilometers away.

4 Mar     Magnitude 0.85 Aldebaran is ½ finger-width to the moon’s upper left high in the south at dusk. Later this evening the moon passes within 0.2 degrees of Aldebaran.

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January 2017 star calendar

Star calendar January 2017

1 Jan     Magnitude -4.3 Venus is 2 finger-widths to the waxing crescent moon’s upper left at dusk.

2 Jan     Tonight the moon lies between magnitude -4.3 Venus, less than 4 finger-widths to the lower right, and magnitude 0.9 Mars, less than 2 finger-widths to the upper left.

3 Jan     The moon slides past Mars this evening and forms a straight line with Venus low in the southwest at dusk. Mars is 4 finger-widths to the moon’s lower right, and Venus lies 1 fist-width beyond Mars.

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December 2016 star calendar

Star calendar 1–31 December 2016

2 Dec     At dusk, Venus is 3 finger-widths to the moon’s left.

3 Dec     Venus is 3 finger-widths below the moon tonight. Mars is 1½ fist-widths to the moon’s upper left. Altair, part of the Summer Triangle, is 2½ fist-widths to the moon’s upper right.

4 Dec     Mars is less than 3 finger-widths to the moon’s left. With binoculars, see if you can spot iota Capricorni, ½ finger-width to the right of Mars.

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November 2016 star calendar

Star calendar 1–30 November 2016

2 Nov     At dusk, Saturn is 1½ finger-widths below the moon and Venus is 3 finger-widths to the lower left. The equation of time is at its maximum for the year, 16.48 minutes.

5 Nov     Low in the south at dusk, Mars is 3 finger-widths to the moon’s lower left, and bright Altair is 2½ fist-widths above the moon.

6 Nov     Daylight saving time ends this morning at 0200. Turn your clocks back.

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October 2016 Star Calendar

Star calendar 1–31 October 2016

1 Oct     The moon sets early, making tonight great for stargazing. Look for Saturn low in the west at dusk, Mars 2 fist-widths to the upper left near Sagittarius and the Summer Triangle directly overhead.

3 Oct     At dusk, Venus is 2 finger-widths below the crescent moon. The pair sets within 2 hours of sunset.

4 Oct     The moon is at apogee, 63.7 Earth-radii (406,000 kilometers) away.

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