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USPS Star Calendar for 4-10 January 28 December 2014

Posted by amedalen in January 2015.
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4 Jan    Earth is at perihelion, 0.98328 AU away from the sun. Compare that to Earth’s distance of 1.01668 AU from the sun at aphelion on 6 July. An astronomical unit, or AU, is about 150,000,000 km or 93,000,000 miles.

5 Jan    As evening passes, it should be easy to spot the Gemini Twins 1 fist-width to the moon’s upper left and Procyon the same distance to the lower right.

6 Jan    High in the east by midnight, Jupiter is about 1 fist-width to the moon’s lower left. Procyon is 1½ fist-widths to the upper right.

7 Jan    By midnight, the moon, Jupiter and Regulus form a tight triangle in the east, with Jupiter 2 finger-widths to the moon’s upper left and Regulus 4 finger-widths to the moon’s lower left. The Big Dipper stands on its handle to the left.

8 Jan    Jupiter is directly above the moon low in the east by midnight, and Regulus is to the moon’s upper left.

9 Jan    The moon forms a nearly straight line with Regulus, 1½ fist-widths above, and Jupiter, less than 1 fist-width beyond.

10 Jan    High in the southwest before dawn, the moon lies between Regulus, 2 fist-widths to the right, and Spica, 3½ fist-widths to the left.

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USPS Star Calendar for 28 December-3 January 21 December 2014

Posted by amedalen in December 2014, January 2015.
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28 Dec    High in the south at dusk, Mars is to the far lower right of the first-quarter moon. Jupiter rises 10 minutes after Mars sets.

29 Dec    Early this evening, the waxing gibbous moon lies between two second-magnitude stars. Use binoculars to find magnitude 2.2 Mira 2 fist-widths to the moon’s upper left, and magnitude 2.2 Deneb Kaitos 3 fist-widths to the lower right. Later Mira will be directly above the moon and Deneb Kaitos will be directly below.

31 Dec    The last day of the year finds the moon high in the east at dusk with Orion and Gemini just above the eastern horizon. The moon won’t catch up with Jupiter until January.

1 Jan    High in the east at sunset, the Pleiades Cluster is 1 fist-width above or to the upper left of the moon. Aldebaran is 3 finger-widths to the lower left.

2 Jan    Gemini and Orion are high in the southeast by midnight.

3 Jan    Just after dark, Gemini is to the moon’s lower left and Orion to its lower right.

USPS Star Calendar for 21-27 December 14 December 2014

Posted by amedalen in December 2014.
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21 Dec    The winter solstice marks the first day of winter in the Northern Hemisphere.

23 Dec    Only two days past new, the thin waxing crescent moon is low in the west at dusk.

24 Dec    Mars stands to the left of the moon early this evening. They set less than 3½ hours after the sun. Altair is 2½ fist-widths to the moon’s upper right. The moon is at perigee, 57.19 Earth-radii (365,000 kilometers) away.

25 Dec    Mars is 1 fist-width to the moon’s lower right this evening. The equation of time is zero.

26 Dec    The moon spends the last week of the year crossing the evening sky between Mars and Jupiter. Tonight Mars is 2½ fist-widths to the moon’s lower right. Jupiter doesn’t even rise in the west until 20 minutes after Mars sets.

USPS Star Calendar for 14-20 December 7 December 2014

Posted by amedalen in December 2014.
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14 Dec    Having moved closer to Spica, the moon is about midway between Jupiter and Spica.

16 Dec    The moon is 3 finger-widths to Spica’s upper right. About one-third of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

17 Dec    This morning, the moon is to Spica’s lower left, and Saturn is 3 fist-widths to the moon’s lower left.

18 Dec    The waning crescent moon lies midway between Spica, nearly 2 fist-widths to the upper right, and Saturn, nearly as far to the lower left this morning. The moon is about 20 percent illuminated.

19 Dec    The moon rises less than 3 hours before the sun this morning. Saturn rises a half hour after the moon. They can be seen low in the east before first light, Saturn 2 finger-widths to the lower left of the moon.

20 Dec    Only a small sliver of the moon is illuminated as it rises about 1½ hours before the sun. Saturn is 1 fist-width to the moon’s upper right. Before the sky brightens, you may catch a glimpse of Antares 4 finger-widths to the moon’s lower right.