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USPS Star Calendar for 4-10 November 28 October 2012

Posted by amedalen in November 2012.
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4 Nov    High in the south before dawn, Orion is to the far lower right of the waning gibbous moon. The Gemini Twins are to the moon’s upper left, and Procyon is 1½ fist-widths to the lower left. Daylight saving time ends at 0200. Turn your clocks back one hour.

5 Nov    Before dawn, Procyon is 1 fist-width below the moon, and the Gemini Twins are the same distance to the upper right.

7 Nov    Magnitude 1.3 Regulus is 1 fist-width to the moon’s left before dawn, and magnitude 0.5 Procyon is 2½ fist-widths to the right.

8 Nov    Regulus is less than 4 finger-widths above the moon before first light. About 40 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

9 Nov    The moon rises well after midnight, making the next few nights a great opportunity to view stars normally overwhelmed by its glow. Let’s start at Orion, the Mighty Hunter. The three stars that make up Orion’s belt are nearly vertical. Magnitude 1.7 Bellatrix is to the belt’s upper left. From Bellatrix, look 4 finger-widths to the upper right to find the six third- and fourth-magnitude stars that form his curved shield. Look to the belt’s lower right to find the Orion Nebula.

10 Nov    From Orion, look up to find magnitude 1.1 Aldebaran this evening. Brilliant magnitude -2.8 Jupiter lingers to the left. Using binoculars, explore the area above and to the right of Aldebaran. You should be able to make out at least a half dozen fourth-magnitude stars.

USPS Star Calendar for 28 October-3 November 21 October 2012

Posted by amedalen in November 2012, October 2012.
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29 Oct    The full moon rises at sunset. Later tonight, the star 2 fist-widths to the moon’s lower right is magnitude 2.0 Mira, in the constellation Cetus, the whale that swallowed Jonah.

30 Oct    Rising 1½ hours after sunset, the moon and the Pleiades Cluster are high in the southeast at midnight. The Pleiades is 3 finger-widths to the moon’s left. Aldebaran is 1½ fist-widths below the Pleiades, and Jupiter is 3 to 4 finger-widths to Aldebaran’s left.

31 Oct    The moon lies midway between the Pleiades, 3 finger-widths above, and Aldebaran, the same distance below. Jupiter is less than 1 fist-width to the moon’s lower left.

1 Nov    Less than 1 finger-width separates Jupiter and the moon as they rise above the horizon. By midnight, Jupiter is 1 finger-width above the moon high in the east. Aldebaran is 3 finger-widths to Jupiter’s right and bright magnitude 0.2 Capella is 2½ fist-widths to Jupiter’s upper left. The moon is at apogee, 63.67 Earth-radii (406,000 kilometers) away.

3 Nov    The waning gibbous moon and the Gemini Twins, 1½ fist-widths to the left, rise late this evening. Betelgeuse is 1½ fist-widths to the moon’s right. The moon is more than 80 percent illuminated.

USPS Star Calendar for 21-27 October 14 October 2012

Posted by amedalen in October 2012.
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21 Oct    At evening twilight, magnitude 0.9 Altair, in the Summer Triangle, is 2½ fist-widths above the waxing gibbous moon low in the south. The triangle’s other stars are magnitude 0.1 Vega, 3 fist-widths to Altair’s upper right, and magnitude 1.3 Deneb, 2 fist-widths to Vega’s upper left or nearly overhead.

22 Oct    In the south at sunset, magnitude 0.9 Altair—in the constellation Aquila, the Eagle—is 2½ fist-widths to the first-quarter moon’s upper right. In Greek mythology, the eagle Aquila carried Zeus’ thunderbolts.

23 Oct    High in the south at sunset, the waxing crescent moon lies between two third-magnitude stars, so get out your binoculars. Magnitude 3.1 Sadalsuud in Aquarius, the Water Bearer, is 2 finger-widths above the moon, and magnitude 3.0 Deneb Algedi—in the constellation Capricornus, the Sea Goat—is little more than 3 finger-widths below the moon.

25 Oct    Saturn, in conjunction with the sun, passes behind it.

26 Oct    Mercury reaches its greatest elongation east, 24.1 degrees from the sun. Look quickly at dusk to spy Mercury before it slips below the western horizon.

27 Oct    Rising less than an hour before sunset, the nearly full moon is high in the east as the stars appear. Directly above the moon, the Great Square of Pegasus includes three stars from the constellation Pegasus and one borrowed from neighboring Andromeda. The nearest star of the square is magnitude 2.9 Algenib, 1 fist-width above the moon. Magnitude 2.6 Markab is 1½ fist-widths to the upper right, and magnitude 2.6 Scheat is 1½ fist-widths to the upper left. Andromeda’s magnitude 2.1 Alpheratz, 1½ fist-widths to the lower left, completes the square.

USPS Star Calendar for 14-20 October 7 October 2012

Posted by amedalen in October 2012.
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14 Oct    Following a line from the Big Dipper’s pointer stars through and beyond Polaris brings us to Cassiopeia, the Lazy W constellation. In Greek mythology, she was the wife of King Cepheus and mother of Andromeda. In Roman myth, Cassiopeia was chained to her throne as punishment for her boastfulness. To Arab astronomers, Cassiopeia’s stars formed the main part of the Camel constellation.

17 Oct    The moon is at perigee, 56.55 Earth-radii (361,000 kilometers) away.

18 Oct    Low in the west at dusk, magnitude 1.2 Mars is 3 finger-widths to the thin, waxing crescent moon’s lower right. Less than 2 finger-widths to Mars’ lower left sits its red rival, magnitude 1.1 Antares. Using binoculars, compare their colors. Don’t dally, because they sink below the horizon within two hours of sunset.

19 Oct    Low in the southwest at dusk, the waxing crescent moon is just above the dome of the Teapot constellation, Sagittarius. Arab astronomers saw these stars as ostriches on their way to drink from the Milky Way. The moon’s surface is 20 percent illuminated.

20 Oct    Having moved to the left, the moon is above the handle of the Teapot. The star 3 finger-widths to the moon’s lower left is magnitude 2.1 Nunki.