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USPS Star Calendar for 3-9 February 27 January 2013

Posted by amedalen in February 2013.
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3 Feb    The last-quarter moon is 2 finger-widths to Saturn’s lower left in the pre-dawn sky.

4 Feb    Scorpius, the Scorpion, is to the lower left of the waning crescent moon low in the south before dawn.

5 Feb    Magnitude 1.1 Antares, the heart of the Scorpion, is 3 finger-widths to the moon’s lower left just before dawn. About one-third of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

6 Feb    The waning crescent moon rises 3 hours before the sun low in the southeast before dawn. Only 20 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated

7 Feb    Look north at dusk to spot the Big Dipper just above the horizon with its handle to the lower left of the bowl. The dipper rotates counter-clockwise and is a little higher with the handle straight down three hours after sunset. By midnight, the dipper has rotated even more and is high in the northeast. The moon is at perigee, 57.28 earth radii or 365,000 kilometers away.

8 Feb    With the moon setting 1½ hours before the sun, tonight is perfect for stargazing. Starting with Orion high in the south, follow a line through the three belt stars 2 fist-widths to the lower left to the Dog Star, magnitude -1.59 Sirius, in the constellation Canis Major.

USPS Star Calendar for 27 January-2 February 20 January 2013

Posted by amedalen in February 2013, January 2013.
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28 Jan    Rising about 2 hours after sunset, Regulus is to the moon’s upper left this evening.

29 Jan    The waning gibbous moon rises 3 hours after sunset. About 95 percent illuminated, it appears to be nearly full with only a slight flat spot on the upper right.

1 Feb    Saturn and Spica line up with the waning gibbous moon in the south before dawn. Magnitude 1.2 Spica is 3 or 4 finger-widths to the moon’s left or upper left, and magnitude 0.5 Saturn lies nearly 2 fist-widths beyond Spica. About 75 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

2 Feb    The moon is now 3 finger-widths to the left of Spica, and Saturn is 1 fist-width to the moon’s upper left. About two-thirds of the moon’s surface is illuminated. Today marks Candlemas or Groundhog Day, one of the cross-quarter days, halfway between solstices and equinoxes.

USPS Star Calendar for 20-26 January 13 January 2013

Posted by amedalen in January 2013.
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20 Jan    Late this evening, the Pleiades Cluster is 3 finger-widths to the waxing gibbous moon’s upper left high in the south. Magnitude -2.6 Jupiter is 1 fist-width to the left.

21 Jan    The moon passes within less than 1 degree of Jupiter tonight.

22 Jan    Orion stands below the moon tonight. About 80 percent illuminated, the moon is at apogee, 63.55 earth-radii or 405,000 kilometers away.

23 Jan    Notable constellations surround the moon this evening: Orion to the lower right, Gemini to the left or lower left, Taurus to the right or upper right, and Auriga to the upper left or above. Home to Capella, Auriga, the Charioteer, is often depicted carrying a goat and a couple of kids.

24 Jan    The moon is more than 90 percent illuminated tonight. The Gemini Twins are 1½ fist-widths to the moon’s right, and magnitude 0.5 Procyon is 1½ fist-widths below the moon.

25 Jan    The moon is midway between Procyon, 1 fist-width to the lower right, and the Gemini Twins, to the upper left.

26 Jan    Rising within a few minutes of sunset and setting shortly before sunrise, tonight’s full moon is known as the Old Moon. Procyon is 1½ fist widths to the moon’s right or upper right. The Gemini Twins are nearly 2 fist-widths above the moon, and Regulus is 2 fist-widths to the lower left.

USPS Star Calendar for 13-19 January 6 January 2013

Posted by amedalen in January 2013.
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13 Jan    Magnitude 1.2 Mars is less than 1 fist-width below the thin waxing crescent moon low in the west at dusk. About 5 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

14 Jan   Today is 1 Jan. in the Julian calendar, which was used until 1582 when it was replaced with the Gregorian calendar. This is the first day of the Roman year 2766 AUC. AUC stands for ab urbe condita, which means “from the founding of the city (Rome).”

15 Jan    You will need binoculars to see a group of fourth- and fifth-magnitude stars that forms a pentagon directly above the moon tonight. Part of the constellation Pisces, the stars are within 3 finger-widths of the moon. The brightest, magnitude 3.9 gamma Piscium, is a little more than 1 finger-width to the moon’s upper right.

16 Jan    Pegasus stands to the right of the moon this evening.

18 Jan    The two stars 1 fist-width above the first-quarter moon are magnitude 2.7 Sheratan and magnitude 2.2 Hamal in the constellation Aries, the Ram. Using binoculars, can you spot the fifth-magnitude star just below Sheratan? How about the one to Hamal’s lower right?