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USPS Star Calendar for 2-8 September 26 August 2012

Posted by amedalen in September 2012.
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2 Sep    Just above the horizon at midnight, the Big Dipper is far to the moon’s left, with its handle facing left.

4 Sep    Nearly 90 percent illuminated, the waning gibbous moon rises late this evening.

6 Sep    The moon rises late tonight and is high in the south at first light tomorrow.

7 Sep    High in the south before dawn, look for the Pleiades Cluster 3 finger-widths to the moon’s upper right and Aldebaran 4 finger-widths to its lower left. Jupiter is 3 finger-widths to Aldebaran’s upper left. The moon is at apogee, 63.39 Earth-radii (404,000 kilometers) away.

8 Sep    The moon passes close to Jupiter. High in the south before dawn, the pair are separated by less than half the width of an index finger held at arm’s length.

USPS Star Calendar for 26 August-1 September 19 August 2012

Posted by amedalen in August 2012, September 2012.
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26 Aug    The moon is above the dome of Sagittarius tonight.

28 Aug    Sketch the Summer Triangle low in the southeast at dusk. Look 2½ fist-widths above the moon to magnitude 0.9 Altair, continue 3½ fist-widths in a straight line to magnitude 0.1 Vega, and 2½ fist-widths to the lower left to magnitude 1.3 Deneb.

29 Aug    High in the south at midnight, the moon is midway between Altair, 3 fist-widths to the upper right, and Fomalhaut, the same distance to the lower left.

31 Aug    The second full moon of the month, which is rare, is called a Blue Moon.

1 Sep    The equation of time is zero. Early this morning, Venus passes between Pollux, 4 finger-widths to the upper left, and Procyon, a little more than 1 fist-width to the lower right.

USPS Star Calendar for 19-25 August 12 August 2012

Posted by amedalen in August 2012.
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20 Aug    Setting less than 1½ hours after the sun, the moon is briefly visible above the horizon tonight. Less than 10 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

21 Aug    Low in the southwest at dusk, the thin waxing crescent moon joins magnitude 1.2 Spica, 1 finger-width to the right; magnitude 0.8 Saturn, 3 finger-widths to the upper right; and magnitude 1.2 Mars, 2 finger widths to the upper left.

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

24 Aug    Tonight Antares is 2 finger-widths to the moon’s lower left.

USPS Star Calendar for 12-18 August 5 August 2012

Posted by amedalen in August 2012.
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12 Aug    In the east before dawn, the moon is between magnitude -2.2 Jupiter, 4 finger-widths to the upper right, and magnitude -4.3 Venus, 1½ fist-widths to the lower left. Orion is to the lower right, and the bright star 2½ fist-widths to the upper left is magnitude 0.2 Capella. The dimmer star between them is magnitude 1.8 Elnath.

13 Aug    Low in the east before dawn, the moon is less than 2 finger-widths to Venus’ upper right. Only 20 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated. Look southwest at dusk to see Saturn, Mars and Spica line up within 2 finger-widths of one another. Magnitude 0.2 Saturn is on the top, magnitude 1.1 Mars is in the middle, and magnitude 1.2 Spica is on the bottom.

14 Aug    Although Saturn, Mars and Spica are still in line tonight, Mars has moved to the left and will continue to do so, leaving Saturn and Spica behind.

15 Aug    Along the eastern horizon an hour before sunrise, magnitude 0.2 Mercury is 4 fist-widths to the lower left of the thin waning crescent moon. Look quickly because the ever-elusive Mercury fades from view as the sky brightens.

16 Aug    Mercury reaches its greatest elongation west, 18.7 degrees from the sun. Mercury rises 1½ hours before the sun and is visible before sunrise with a clear view of the eastern horizon. Rising a half hour after Mercury, the thin waning crescent is 3 finger-widths below.

17 Aug    Tonight’s new moon is perfect for stargazing. With binoculars, find Mars, Saturn and Spica near the western horizon at dusk. Moving left (south) to see Scorpius and Sagittarius also hugging the horizon. Continue moving left until you are looking north to the Big Dipper. Follow the dipper’s pointer stars to Cassiopeia, the Lazy W constellation.

18 Aug    Now that you have found Cassiopeia, look 3 fist-widths to the upper right to magnitude 1.3 Deneb, 2 fist-widths above Deneb to magnitude 0.1 Vega, and 3½ fist-widths to Vega’s lower right to magnitude 0.9 Altair. These three stars form the Summer Triangle.