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USPS Star Calendar for 2-8 February 26 January 2014

Posted by amedalen in February 2014.
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2 Feb     Low in the west at dusk, the thin waxing crescent moon sets about four hours after the sun. With the moon less than 10 percent illuminated, tonight is good for stargazing. Magnitude –2.6 Jupiter dominates the eastern sky, outshining its closest neighbors, the Gemini Twins, Pollux and Castor, 1 fist-width to the lower left.

3 Feb    The moon sets a little later tonight, but we still have prime early evening stargazing. Orion lies on its side to Jupiter’s right. Look to the lower right of Orion’s belt to see the Orion Nebula, a birthplace of stars. To the naked eye, the Nebula appears as a fuzzy cloud, but it’s much clearer with binoculars.

4 Feb     The waxing crescent moon sits high in the west at dusk. Try to spot second-magnitude star magnitude 2.2 Deneb Kaitos 3 fist-widths to the lower left. The brightest object in the area, it should be easy to find.

6 Feb     The first-quarter moon is high in the southeast at dusk.

7 Feb     The moon lies midway between the Pleiades, 3 finger-widths to the upper right, and Aldebaran, the same distance to the left.

8 Feb     The waxing gibbous moon moves to Aldebaran’s left tonight. Jupiter is 2½ fist-widths farther left, and Orion is directly below the moon, which is two-thirds illuminated.

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USPS Star Calendar for 26 January-1 February 19 January 2014

Posted by amedalen in February 2014, January 2014.
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26 Jan    The waning crescent moon rises four hours before the sun and is low in the south before first light. Antares, the red heart of the Scorpion, is less than 4 finger-widths below. About one-third of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

28 Jan    The thin waning crescent moon rises less than a half hour before Venus this morning. The sun follows less than two hours later. Little more than 10 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

30 Jan    The moon is at perigee, 56.05 Earth-radii (357,000 kilometers) away. With the new moon occurring less than 12 hours after perigee, we can expect tidal extremes.

31 Jan    Mercury reaches its greatest elongation east of the sun, 18.3 degrees, and is visible low in the west at dusk. Using binoculars, you may be able to catch a glimpse of the thin crescent moon to Mercury’s lower right.

1 Feb     The thin waxing crescent moon sets two and a half hours after the sun. With your binoculars, try to spot Mercury 1 fist-width below the moon.

USPS Star Calendar for 19-25 January 12 January 2014

Posted by amedalen in January 2014.
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20 Jan    The waning gibbous moon rises more than four and a half hours after sunset. Nearly 90 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

21 Jan    The moon rises late this evening; Mars follows less than an hour later.

22 Jan    The moon rises around midnight, a few minutes after Mars, and Spica rises right after, less than ½ finger-width below the moon.

23 Jan    Just before dawn, look for Spica less than 1 finger-width to the moon’s right and Mars 3 finger-widths to the upper right. The moon passes within ¼ finger-width of Spica in the early morning.

24 Jan    Look south before first light to see the moon between Saturn, a little more than 1 fist-width to the left or lower left, and Mars, 1½ fist-widths to the upper right. Don’t confuse magnitude 0.4 Mars with noticeably dimmer magnitude 1.2 Spica  2 finger-widths to the lower left.

25 Jan    The moon passes within 0.5 degrees, ¼ finger-width, of Saturn just before dawn.

USPS Star Calendar for 12-18 January 5 January 2014

Posted by amedalen in January 2014.
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13 Jan    Bright lights surround the waxing gibbous moon tonight. The brightest, magnitude –2.7 Jupiter is 1 fist-width to the lower left, magnitude 0.2 Capella is 3 fist-widths to the upper left, magnitude 0.6 Betelgeuse is 1 fist-width to the lower right, and magnitude 1.1 Aldebaran is 2 fist-widths to the upper right.

14 Jan    Only two days from full, the moon stands a little more than 2 finger-widths to Jupiter’s lower right this evening.

15 Jan    Tonight, the moon is 1 fist-width below Jupiter and midway between magnitude 0.5 Procyon, one fist-width to the lower right, and magnitude 1.2 Pollux, the same distance to the upper left.

16 Jan    The moon is at apogee, 63.81 Earth-radii (more than 406,000 kilometers) away.

18 Jan    The moon rises less than two hours after sunset, and magnitude 1.3 Regulus can be found 2 finger-widths to its upper left. Five fist-widths to the left, the Big Dipper stands on its handle just above the horizon.