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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.

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