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USPS Star Calendar for 1-7 December 24 November 2013

Posted by amedalen in December 2013.
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1 Dec    Low in the east before dawn, the waning crescent moon stands between Mercury, 2 finger-widths to the lower left, and Saturn, 1½ finger-widths above.

3 Dec    Orion climbs above the horizon about an hour after sunset and is high in the south by midnight.

4 Dec    The moon is at perigee, 56.45 Earth-radii (360,000 kilometers) away.

5 Dec     Venus is 3 finger-widths to the moon’s lower left at dusk. Only a few days from its brightest magnitude, Venus should be easy to spot even during daylight. The best time might be a couple of hours before sunset when the moon and Venus are nearly directly south. Depending on your latitude, they should be between 2 to 4 fist-widths above the horizon, higher at southern latitudes, lower at northern latitudes. Be patient. The moon should be easier to spot despite only a sliver being visible. Once you have located the moon, Venus can be found 3 finger-widths to the lower left.

7 Dec     Today has the earliest sunset of the year at 40 degrees north latitude. The date and time vary with latitude and also slightly with longitude.

USPS Star Calendar for 24-30 November 17 November 2013

Posted by amedalen in November 2013.
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24 Nov    Now racing at 4 to 5 degrees per day, Comet ISON passes only 5 degrees from Mercury and Saturn. The comet is predicted to brighten to magnitude 0.4 to 0.0 compared with magnitude –0.7 Mercury and magnitude 0.6 Saturn. Spica is far to the upper right of Comet ISON’s head, but the tail may extend all the way up to Spica or even farther.

25 Nov    High in the south before dawn, magnitude 1.3 Regulus is 3 finger-widths to the upper left of the first-quarter moon, and Mars is 2½ fist-widths to the lower left. During the next few mornings, the moon moves left toward Mars. Mercury and Saturn are close, low in the east before dawn. They rise 1½ hours before the sun, so you will have to look quickly. Magnitude –0.7 Mercury is less than 1 degree to the upper right of magnitude 0.6 Saturn.

26 Nov    This morning, Regulus is 1½ fist-widths to the moon’s upper right, and Mars is the same distance to the lower left. Saturn is less than 1 degree above Mercury.

27 Nov    Mars is 3 finger-widths to the moon’s upper left this morning.

28 Nov    At perihelion, Comet ISON may be brighter than Sirius and Venus or even as bright as a half moon, and could be visible during daylight.

29 Nov    Spica is 1 finger-width to the moon’s lower left tonight. Only 20 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

30 Nov    The moon is between Spica, 1 fist-width to the upper right, and magnitude 0.6 Saturn, about the same distance to the lower left. Look quickly because Saturn rises less than 2 hours before the sun and will quickly be lost in the brightness.

USPS Star Calendar for 17-23 November 10 November 2013

Posted by amedalen in November 2013.
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17 Nov    The full moon rises within a few minutes of sunset with the Pleiades Cluster to its upper left. At midnight, the Pleiades Cluster is above the moon with Aldebaran to the lower left and Orion near the horizon.

18 Nov    The moon rises an hour after sunset with Aldebaran less than 2 finger-widths to the right or upper right. Still in Sagittarius, Venus passes within a fraction of a degree below magnitude 2.1 Nunki, in the handle of the Teapot.  Comet ISON passes close to Spica low in the west before dawn. Moving 2–3 degrees a day, the comet may already have an impressive tail.

19 Nov    Nearing Mercury, Comet ISON is a few degrees to Spica’s lower left.

20 Nov    Rising 3 hours after sunset, the moon is to Orion’s left. Then rising a half-hour later, Jupiter and the Gemini Twins are to the moon’s lower left.

21 Nov    Tonight, Jupiter rises a few minutes before the moon, which is less than 3 finger-widths to the lower right with the Gemini Twins a little farther to the left. Comet ISON may be as bright as magnitude 1.8 this morning.

22 Nov    The moon is at apogee, 63.57 Earth-radii (405,000 kilometers) from Earth.

USPS Star Calendar for 10-16 November 3 November 2013

Posted by amedalen in November 2013.
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10 Nov    The first-quarter moon is high in the south at sunset and sets just after midnight.

11 Nov    Low in the southwest at dusk, Venus enters the dome of the Teapot constellation, Sagittarius, and crosses the dome over the next few evenings, finally exiting on the 15th.

12 Nov    Using binoculars, look for Venus which passes less than 1 finger-width to the lower left of magnitude 2.9 Kaus Borealis, the uppermost star of Sagittarius’ dome.

13 Nov    The waxing gibbous moon is high in the southeast at sunset. About 80 percent of the surface is illuminated.

15 Nov    Exiting the dome of the Teapot this evening, Venus is one-half degree to the right of magnitude 3.3 Phi Sagittarii.