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USPS Star Calendar for 29 December-4 January 22 December 2013

Posted by amedalen in December 2013, January 2014.
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29 Dec    The moon is 4 finger-widths to Saturn’s lower left. Less than 20 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

1 Jan    Rising a few minutes after sunset, Jupiter is high in the east by midevening. The Gemini Twins, Pollux and Castor, are less than 1 fist-width to the left, and Orion is about 3 fist-widths to the right. The bright star 2 fist-widths to the lower right is magnitude 0.5 Procyon. The new moon, only 9.8 hours old, is at perigee, 56.02 Earth-radii (357,000 kilometers) away. Check your tide tables.

2 Jan    Occurring a day after the new moon, the Quadrantids meteor shower should be above average and can be viewed over five nights. At its peak from the evening of 2 Jan. to the morning of 3 Jan, you may see 60-200 meteors per hour. For best viewing, choose a dark location after midnight. Meteors can appear anywhere in the sky but will radiate from the constellation Boötes, which rises above the eastern horizon shortly after midnight. This is the only one of the three dominant meteor showers (Quadrantids, Perseids and Geminids) on a moonless night.

4 Jan    At perihelion, Earth makes its closest approach to the sun for the year at 0.98333 AU, or about 91.4 million miles, away. An astronomical unit (92,955,807.3 miles) is the average distance from Earth to the sun.

USPS Star Calendar for 22-28 December 15 December 2013

Posted by amedalen in December 2013.
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22 Dec    Magnitude 1.3 Regulus is nearly 4 finger-widths to the moon’s upper left late tonight.

23 Dec    Regulus is 1 fist-width to the moon’s right, high in the southwest before dawn.

25 Dec    Mars is 3 finger-widths to the first-quarter moon’s upper left, high in the south before dawn.

26 Dec    In the south before dawn, the moon is between Mars, 4 finger-widths to the upper right, and Spica, 3 finger-widths to the lower left.

27 Dec    The moon has moved to the lower left of Spica, and Saturn is 2 fist-widths to the moon’s lower left.

28 Dec    Having moved closer to Saturn, the waning crescent moon stands less than 3 finger-widths to the ringed planet’s upper right.

USPS Star Calendar for 15-21 December 8 December 2013

Posted by amedalen in December 2013.
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15 Dec    Aldebaran is 1 finger-width below the moon tonight.

17 Dec    The last full moon of the year rises a half-hour after sunset, followed less than an hour later by Jupiter to the lower left. Orion is to the right.

18 Dec    This evening, Jupiter and the moon rise side by side an hour and a half after sunset.

19 Dec    Jupiter stands directly above the moon in the early evening. Magnitude 0.5 Procyon is 1 fist-width to the moon’s lower right. The moon is at apogee, 63.70 Earth-radii (406,000 kilometers) away.

21 Dec    Winter arrives in the Northern Hemisphere at 1711 UT as the sun reaches its farthest point south of the celestial equator.

USPS Star Calendar for 8-14 December 1 December 2013

Posted by amedalen in December 2013.
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9 Dec    The first-quarter moon is high in the south at sunset. Look for Fomalhaut 3 fist-widths below, near the horizon.

10 Dec    Venus reaches its brightest for the year at magnitude –4.9.

11 Dec    The waxing gibbous moon spends the evening traversing the southern sky setting well after midnight. About two-thirds of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

14 Dec    Rising an hour before sunset, the moon is low in the southeast in the early evening. The Pleiades Cluster is 3 finger-widths to the upper left and Aldebaran, the eye of Taurus, the Bull, is more than 1 fist-width to the lower left.

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.