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USPS Star Calendar for 25-31 January 18 January 2015

Posted by amedalen in January 2015.
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26 Jan    High in the south early this evening, the moon is between Hamal, a little more than 1 fist-width to the upper right, and Mira, the same distance to the lower left.

28 Jan    Tonight high in the south, the Pleiades Cluster is 4 finger-widths above or to the upper right of the moon, and Aldebaran is the same distance to the left or upper left.

30 Jan    Mercury is at inferior conjunction, passing between the sun and Earth.

31 Jan    Procyon is 2 fist-widths below the moon. Look with binoculars to see second-magnitude Alhena less than 1 finger-width to the moon’s right.

USPS Star Calendar for 18-24 January 11 January 2015

Posted by amedalen in January 2015.
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18 Jan    Without the moon’s light, it should be easy to see a planet trio low in the west at sunset. Mercury is to the lower right of brilliant Venus, and Mars is 1½ fist-widths to the upper left.

19 Jan    Tonight is another dark night good for stargazing. Look for Gemini and Orion low in the west at dusk. Later this evening they are high in the south, while Jupiter and Leo the Lion take their place. To the left, the Big Dipper stands on its handle.

21 Jan    Low in the west at dusk, Venus is 2½ finger-widths to the moon’s left, and Mercury is 2 finger-widths below.

22 Jan   Early this evening, Mars is 2 finger-widths to the moon’s left, and Venus is 1 fist-width below.

23 Jan    Forming a straight line tonight, Mars is 1 fist-width to the moon’s lower right, and Venus is a fist-width beyond Mars.

24 Jan    High in the southwest at dusk, the thin crescent moon is in a straight line between Deneb Kaitos, 2 fist-widths to the lower left, and Alpheratz, a little farther to the upper right. Mira is 3 fist-widths to the left.

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 4-10 January 28 December 2014

Posted by amedalen in January 2015.
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4 Jan    Earth is at perihelion, 0.98328 AU away from the sun. Compare that to Earth’s distance of 1.01668 AU from the sun at aphelion on 6 July. An astronomical unit, or AU, is about 150,000,000 km or 93,000,000 miles.

5 Jan    As evening passes, it should be easy to spot the Gemini Twins 1 fist-width to the moon’s upper left and Procyon the same distance to the lower right.

6 Jan    High in the east by midnight, Jupiter is about 1 fist-width to the moon’s lower left. Procyon is 1½ fist-widths to the upper right.

7 Jan    By midnight, the moon, Jupiter and Regulus form a tight triangle in the east, with Jupiter 2 finger-widths to the moon’s upper left and Regulus 4 finger-widths to the moon’s lower left. The Big Dipper stands on its handle to the left.

8 Jan    Jupiter is directly above the moon low in the east by midnight, and Regulus is to the moon’s upper left.

9 Jan    The moon forms a nearly straight line with Regulus, 1½ fist-widths above, and Jupiter, less than 1 fist-width beyond.

10 Jan    High in the southwest before dawn, the moon lies between Regulus, 2 fist-widths to the right, and Spica, 3½ fist-widths to the left.

USPS Star Calendar for 28 December-3 January 21 December 2014

Posted by amedalen in December 2014, January 2015.
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28 Dec    High in the south at dusk, Mars is to the far lower right of the first-quarter moon. Jupiter rises 10 minutes after Mars sets.

29 Dec    Early this evening, the waxing gibbous moon lies between two second-magnitude stars. Use binoculars to find magnitude 2.2 Mira 2 fist-widths to the moon’s upper left, and magnitude 2.2 Deneb Kaitos 3 fist-widths to the lower right. Later Mira will be directly above the moon and Deneb Kaitos will be directly below.

31 Dec    The last day of the year finds the moon high in the east at dusk with Orion and Gemini just above the eastern horizon. The moon won’t catch up with Jupiter until January.

1 Jan    High in the east at sunset, the Pleiades Cluster is 1 fist-width above or to the upper left of the moon. Aldebaran is 3 finger-widths to the lower left.

2 Jan    Gemini and Orion are high in the southeast by midnight.

3 Jan    Just after dark, Gemini is to the moon’s lower left and Orion to its lower right.

USPS Star Calendar for 21-27 December 14 December 2014

Posted by amedalen in December 2014.
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21 Dec    The winter solstice marks the first day of winter in the Northern Hemisphere.

23 Dec    Only two days past new, the thin waxing crescent moon is low in the west at dusk.

24 Dec    Mars stands to the left of the moon early this evening. They set less than 3½ hours after the sun. Altair is 2½ fist-widths to the moon’s upper right. The moon is at perigee, 57.19 Earth-radii (365,000 kilometers) away.

25 Dec    Mars is 1 fist-width to the moon’s lower right this evening. The equation of time is zero.

26 Dec    The moon spends the last week of the year crossing the evening sky between Mars and Jupiter. Tonight Mars is 2½ fist-widths to the moon’s lower right. Jupiter doesn’t even rise in the west until 20 minutes after Mars sets.

USPS Star Calendar for 14-20 December 7 December 2014

Posted by amedalen in December 2014.
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14 Dec    Having moved closer to Spica, the moon is about midway between Jupiter and Spica.

16 Dec    The moon is 3 finger-widths to Spica’s upper right. About one-third of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

17 Dec    This morning, the moon is to Spica’s lower left, and Saturn is 3 fist-widths to the moon’s lower left.

18 Dec    The waning crescent moon lies midway between Spica, nearly 2 fist-widths to the upper right, and Saturn, nearly as far to the lower left this morning. The moon is about 20 percent illuminated.

19 Dec    The moon rises less than 3 hours before the sun this morning. Saturn rises a half hour after the moon. They can be seen low in the east before first light, Saturn 2 finger-widths to the lower left of the moon.

20 Dec    Only a small sliver of the moon is illuminated as it rises about 1½ hours before the sun. Saturn is 1 fist-width to the moon’s upper right. Before the sky brightens, you may catch a glimpse of Antares 4 finger-widths to the moon’s lower right.

USPS Star Calender for 7-13 December 30 November 2014

Posted by amedalen in December 2014.
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7 Dec    The moon lies between Orion and Gemini this evening. Magnitude 1.9 Alhena is 2 finger-widths below the moon.

8 Dec    The Gemini Twins rise with the moon, more than 2 hours after sunset. By midnight, they are high in the east with Procyon 1 fist-width to the moon’s lower right.

9 Dec    Magnitude 0.5 Procyon and the moon rise more than 3 hours after sunset. Procyon is 1 fist-width to the moon’s right. Sirius is another 2 ½ fist-widths beyond Procyon.

10 Dec    The moon rises a little more than 4 hours after sunset, and Jupiter follows a half hour later. By midnight, they are still fairly low in the east. Procyon is 2 fist-widths to the moon’s upper right, and Jupiter is 1 fist-width to the lower left. Regulus is 4 finger-widths to Jupiter’s lower left.

11 Dec    Jupiter rises 1 hour 20 minutes after sunset, followed by the moon 20 minutes later. Together with Regulus, they form a tight triangle low in the east late this evening and early tomorrow morning. Four fingers held at arm’s length will cover all three.

12 Dec    The waning gibbous moon rises late tonight, with Regulus and Jupiter directly above it. The moon is at apogee, 63.44 Earth-radii (405,000 kilometers) away.

13 Dec    Right to left, Jupiter, Regulus and the moon line up high in the south in the pre-dawn sky. Spica is far to the lower left.

USPS Star Calendar for 30 November-6 December 23 November 2014

Posted by amedalen in December 2014, November 2014.
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30 Nov    High in the southeast at dusk, the waxing gibbous moon is 2 fist-widths above a second-magnitude star, magnitude 2.2 Deneb Kaitos. Can you see the fourth-magnitude star midway between them? You may need binoculars to make out magnitude 3.8 iota Ceti.

2 Dec    Tonight look for magnitude 2.0 Mira, 1½ fist-widths below the moon.

3 Dec    The moon is surrounded by two second-magnitude and two third-magnitude stars this evening. The brightest, magnitude 2.0 Mira is 1½ fist-widths to the lower right.  Next in brightness, magnitude 2.2 Hamal is about the same distance to the upper left. Two finger-widths to Hamal’s right is magnitude 2.7 Sheratan. Finally, magnitude 2.8 Menkar is below and slightly right of the moon. You will need binoculars to get the most out of this viewing opportunity.

4 Dec    The Pleiades Cluster is 1 fist-width to the moon’s left or upper left this evening. Aldebaran is 1½ fist-widths to the lower left. The moon is more than 90 percent illuminated.

5 Dec    The nearly full moon rises in the middle of the constellation Taurus, the Bull, shortly before sunset. The brightest star, Aldebaran, is 1 finger-width to the moon’s lower left at dusk. Passing within less than 1 degree, the moon grows closer to Aldebaran as the evening passes. At midnight, the pair stands high in the south with Aldebaran to the moon’s lower right.

6 Dec    By mid-evening the full moon is high in the east surrounded by several first-magnitude stars. Aldebaran is 1 fist-width to the upper right. Capella is nearly 3 fist-widths to the upper left. Far below Capella is Pollux, the brighter of the Gemini Twins. Orion is to the lower right of the moon with its two first-magnitude stars, Betelgeuse 1 fist-width to the moon’s lower right, and Rigel at the opposite corner, beyond the belt.

USPS Star Calendar for 23-29 November 16 November 2014

Posted by amedalen in November 2014.
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24 Nov    Low in the west at dusk, the waxing crescent moon sets less than 2½ hours after the sun. Mars is nearly 2 fist-widths to the upper left.

25 Nov    Mars is 4 finger-widths to the left of the waxing crescent moon, low in the southwest early tonight. The moon is less than 10 percent illuminated.

26 Nov    Tonight the moon is 1 fist-width above Mars, which sets 2½ hours after the sun and is followed by the moon an hour later.

27 Nov    The moon is at perigee, 57.99 Earth-radii (370,000 kilometers) away.

29 Nov    Fomalhaut is 2½ fist-widths below the first-quarter moon high in the south at dusk.

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