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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.

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