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USPS Star Calendar for 6-12 January 30 December 2012

Posted by amedalen in January 2013.
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6 Jan    Before first light, look for the waning crescent moon between Saturn, 3 finger-widths to the lower left, and Spica, 1 fist-width to the upper right.

7 Jan    Before dawn, the moon hangs out in the constellation Libra, the Scales. Using binoculars, look for the triangle of stars that make up Libra’s body, the brightest of which is magnitude 2.7 Zubeneschamali (Northern Claw), 1 fist-width to the moon’s upper left. Magnitude 3.4 Brachium (sigma Librae) is 3 finger-widths to the lower right, and magnitude 2.9 Zubenelgenubi (Southern Claw) is 2 finger-widths to the upper right, midway between the moon and Saturn.  

8 Jan    Rising 3½ hours before the sun, the waning crescent moon is low in the southeast before first light in the head of the Scorpion, Scorpius. The moon is midway between Saturn, 2 fist-widths to the upper right, and Venus, to the lower left near the horizon. Venus rises a little more than an hour before the sun, so you will need to look quickly before it fades from view.

10 Jan    Rising a little more than an hour before the sun, Venus and the moon are low in the east at first light and fade in the glow of the rising sun. Only 5 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated. The moon is at perigee, 56.45 earth-radii or 360,000 kilometers away.

11 Jan    New at 1944 UT, the moon rises and sets within a few minutes of the sun.

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USPS Star Calendar for 30 December-5 January 23 December 2012

Posted by amedalen in December 2012.
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31 Dec    The moon rises 3½ hours after sunset, followed shortly by Regulus to the lower left. At midnight, they are midway up the eastern sky with the Big Dipper to the left, standing on its handle to celebrate the New Year.

1 Jan    Rising 4½ hours after sunset, the waning gibbous moon is well above the eastern horizon at midnight. Magnitude 1.3 Regulus is 4 finger-widths to the moon’s upper left, and the Big Dipper stands on its handle 5 fist-widths to the left.

2 Jan    Regulus is 1 fist-width to the moon’s upper right, high in the southwest before dawn. More than 75 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated. Earth is at perihelion, its closest approach to the sun at 0.98330 AU or 147,099,000 kilometers away.

3 Jan    From left to right, Jupiter, Spica, the moon and Regulus form a nearly straight line in the southwest before dawn.

4 Jan    For those in the U.S., the moon is at last quarter late tonight.

5 Jan    Magnitude 1.2 Spica is 2 finger-widths to the moon’s left, high in the south before dawn. Magnitude 0.6 Saturn is 1½ fist-widths to Spica’s lower left.

USPS Star Calendar for 23-29 December 16 December 2012

Posted by amedalen in December 2012.
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24 Dec    The Pleiades Cluster is 2 finger-widths to the left or upper left of the moon tonight. Magnitude -2.8 Jupiter is 1 fist-width to the moon’s lower left, and magnitude 1.1 Aldebaran is 2 finger-widths to Jupiter’s lower right.

25 Dec    The heavens have a present for us early tonight as the moon passes within 0.42 degrees of Jupiter in the east. The moon is just below Jupiter, and Aldebaran is 2 finger-widths to the moon’s lower right. The moon is at apogee, 63.67 Earth-radii (406,000 kilometers) away.

27 Dec    Orion and the moon rise at sunset, and by midnight, they dominate the southern sky along with Jupiter 2½ fist-widths to the moon’s right and the Gemini Twins 2 fist-widths to the left. The Big Dipper stands on its handle to the Twins’ lower left.

28 Dec    Procyon is 1½ fist-widths to the moon’s lower right tonight.

29 Dec    Procyon is 1 fist-width to the moon’s lower right this evening, and the Gemini Twins are the same distance to the upper left.

USPS Star Calendar for 16-22 December 9 December 2012

Posted by amedalen in December 2012.
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16 Dec    In the southwest at dusk, the thin waxing crescent moon is about 10 percent illuminated.

18 Dec    High in the southwest early tonight, magnitude 1.3 Deneb in the constellation Cygnus, the Swan, is more than 5 fist-widths to the moon’s upper right. In one story, Orpheus, who sang and played his lyre so beautifully that wild animals and trees came to hear him, was transformed into a Swan after his death and placed next to his lyre, Lyra.

20 Dec    The Great Square of Pegasus is above the first-quarter moon at dusk.

21 Dec    High in the south tonight, the moon is surrounded by many lower-magnitude stars. About 3 hours after sunset, magnitude 2.1 Alpheratz is a little more than 2 fist-widths to the moon’s upper right. Magnitude 2.0 Mira is 2 fist-widths to the moon’s lower left. Magnitude 2.2 Deneb Kaitos is 3 fist-widths below the moon, and magnitude 2.2 Hamal is 1½ fist-widths to the moon’s upper left. Today marks the first day of winter, the winter solstice, as the sun reaches its farthest distance below the celestial equator. This is the last day of the 13th baktun in the Long Count of the Mayan Calendar. The official end is 1111 UT.

22 Dec    Today is the first day of the 14th baktun in the Long Count of the Mayan Calendar.

USPS Star Calendar for 9-15 December 2 December 2012

Posted by amedalen in December 2012.
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9 Dec    Spica is less than 1 finger-width above the moon before dawn.

10 Dec    The waning crescent moon is 2 finger-widths to Saturn’s lower right this morning.

11 Dec    Before first light, the moon is 1 finger-width to the Venus’ lower right, and Mercury is 3 finger-widths to its lower left.

12 Dec    The moon has now passed Mercury and is quickly lost in dawn’s early light. The moon is at perigee, 55.99 Earth-radii (357,000 kilometers) away.

13 Dec    The Geminid meteor shower peaks tonight with no moon to interfere, making this a good viewing opportunity.

14 Dec    Look low in the west at dusk to see Mars 3 finger-widths to the left or upper left of the thin waxing crescent moon. Only a thin sliver of the moon is illuminated.

15 Dec    Mars is 4 finger-widths below the moon tonight. Only about 5 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated.