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USPS Star Calendar for 3-9 March 24 February 2013

Posted by amedalen in March 2013.
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4 Mar    The last-quarter moon is above Antares before dawn.

5 Mar    The moon is at perigee, 58.01 earth-radii or 370,000 kilometers away.

6 Mar    The waning crescent moon rises 4 hours before the sun and is low in the south at dawn. Sagittarius is to the moon’s lower right. About a third of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

7 Mar    With the moon setting 4 hours before the sun, the dark sky will be perfect for stargazing. Start in the north with the Big Dipper, Ursa Major, the Great Bear. The handle arcs down toward the horizon. Follow the pointer stars at the far end of the dipper 3 fist-widths left to Polaris, the North Star. Another 3 fist-widths beyond Polaris is the Lazy W constellation, Cassiopeia, upside down in the early evening.

8 Mar    Now that you’ve found Polaris, use binoculars to see if you can make out the Little Dipper, Ursa Minor, the Little Bear. Polaris represents the end of the handle or the bear’s tail. This evening the handle extends to the lower right, arcing slightly upward, with the bowl parallel to the horizon. You need a dark sky to see the entire dipper, as only two stars are second magnitude and one is third magnitude. The others are fourth and fifth magnitude.

USPS Star Calendar for 24 February-2 March 17 February 2013

Posted by amedalen in February 2013, March 2013.
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24 Feb    The moon and Regulus rise less than an hour before sunset and are high in the south by midnight.

25 Feb    Regulus is a little more than 1 fist-width to the full moon’s upper right high in the south by midnight. The Big Dipper is nearly upside down, far to the left. Follow the arc of the dipper’s handle 3 fist-widths to Arcturus and another 3 fist-widths to Spica: Arc to Arcturus and speed on to Spica. Full at 2026 UT, tonight’s moon is called the Snow Moon.

26 Feb    The moon rises 1½ hours after sunset. Only a day past full, it appears full.

27 Feb    Rising about 2 hours after sunset, the moon is low in the southeast by midnight. Sirius is 1 fist-width to the lower left, and Saturn is 2 fist-widths beyond Sirius.

28 Feb    The moon rises 3½ hours after sunset, and Sirius will be so close to the moon’s left that you will need binoculars to see it.

1 Mar    The moon rises late this evening followed a few minutes later by Saturn, 2 finger-widths to the left.

2 Mar    Saturn is 2 finger-widths above the moon low in the southwest before dawn.

USPS Star Calendar for 17-23 February 10 February 2013

Posted by amedalen in February 2013.
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17 Feb    The Pleiades Cluster is 3 finger-widths to the right or upper right of the first-quarter moon high in the southwest early tonight. Jupiter is 2 finger-widths to the upper left.

18 Feb    The waxing gibbous moon has moved to Jupiter’s left tonight, and Aldebaran is 2 finger-widths to the moon’s lower right.

19 Feb    Orion is below the moon this evening. The second brightest star, magnitude 0.6 Betelgeuse, is 1 fist-width below or to the lower left of the moon. Two-and-a-half fist-widths beyond Betelgeuse lies magnitude -1.59 Sirius, the Dog Star, in the constellation Canis Major, the Great Dog. In myth, Canis Major is one of Orion’s hunting dogs. The moon is at apogee, 63.42 earth-radii or 404,000 kilometers away.

20 Feb    The bright star 1 finger-width to the moon’s lower left tonight is magnitude 1.9 Alhena in the constellation Gemini, the Twins.  Pollux and Castor, the Twins, are nearly 2 fist-widths to the moon’s upper left. Nearly 75 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

21 Feb    The moon lies midway between the Gemini Twins, to the upper left, and magnitude 0.5 Procyon, below.

22 Feb    Rising 3 hours before sunset, the moon, nearly 90 percent illuminated, is visible before sunset. As daylight fades, watch as stars appear near the moon. The first to emerge should be the brightest, magnitude -1.59 Sirius, which is 3½ fist-widths to the moon’s lower right. The next should be magnitude 0.5 Procyon, 1 fist-width to the moon’s right.

23 Feb    Tonight, the moon is between Regulus, 1½ fist-widths to the lower left, and Procyon, 2 fist-widths to the upper right. The Big Dipper stands on its handle, far to the left.

USPS Star Calendar for 10-16 February 3 February 2013

Posted by amedalen in February 2013.
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10 Feb    New at 720 UT, the moon rises and sets within a few minutes of the sun.

11 Feb    If you have a clear view of the western horizon at dusk, you can catch a glimpse of magnitude -0.9 Mercury 3 finger-widths to the waxing crescent moon’s lower left and magnitude 1.2 Mars 1 finger-width below Mercury. Watch them disappear below the horizon. Setting a little more than an hour after the sun, Mars is followed 15 minutes later by Mercury. The moon sets a half hour later. The equation of time is at the minimum for the year, -14.25 minutes. That means at noon mean solar time the sun has not reached the meridian; it will do so 14 minutes later.

12 Feb    Today is Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday), the day before the season of lent begins.

13 Feb    Look low in the west at nightfall to spot magnitude 2.1 Alpheratz 2 fist-widths to the thin waxing crescent moon’s upper right. Magnitude 2.0 Mira is 2½ fist-widths to the upper left, and magnitude 2.2 Hamal is the same distance above the moon.

14 Feb    Mira, in the constellation Cetus, the Whale, is 2 fist-widths to the moon’s left tonight. To the ancient Greeks, Cetus was a sea monster that Perseus destroyed before it could attack Andromeda. Today is St. Valentine’s Day.

15 Feb    Early this evening, magnitude -2.4 Jupiter is 3 fist-widths to the waxing crescent moon’s upper left high in the west. Magnitude 1.1 Aldebaran is 3 finger-widths to the left or lower left of Jupiter, and Orion is a couple of fist-widths beyond Aldebaran. The moon is 25 percent illuminated.

16 Feb    Mercury reaches its greatest elongation east of the sun, a little over 18 degrees, and sets 1½ hours after the sun.