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USPS Star Calendar for 27 January-2 February 20 January 2013

Posted by amedalen in February 2013, January 2013.
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28 Jan    Rising about 2 hours after sunset, Regulus is to the moon’s upper left this evening.

29 Jan    The waning gibbous moon rises 3 hours after sunset. About 95 percent illuminated, it appears to be nearly full with only a slight flat spot on the upper right.

1 Feb    Saturn and Spica line up with the waning gibbous moon in the south before dawn. Magnitude 1.2 Spica is 3 or 4 finger-widths to the moon’s left or upper left, and magnitude 0.5 Saturn lies nearly 2 fist-widths beyond Spica. About 75 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

2 Feb    The moon is now 3 finger-widths to the left of Spica, and Saturn is 1 fist-width to the moon’s upper left. About two-thirds of the moon’s surface is illuminated. Today marks Candlemas or Groundhog Day, one of the cross-quarter days, halfway between solstices and equinoxes.

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USPS Star Calendar for 20-26 January 13 January 2013

Posted by amedalen in January 2013.
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20 Jan    Late this evening, the Pleiades Cluster is 3 finger-widths to the waxing gibbous moon’s upper left high in the south. Magnitude -2.6 Jupiter is 1 fist-width to the left.

21 Jan    The moon passes within less than 1 degree of Jupiter tonight.

22 Jan    Orion stands below the moon tonight. About 80 percent illuminated, the moon is at apogee, 63.55 earth-radii or 405,000 kilometers away.

23 Jan    Notable constellations surround the moon this evening: Orion to the lower right, Gemini to the left or lower left, Taurus to the right or upper right, and Auriga to the upper left or above. Home to Capella, Auriga, the Charioteer, is often depicted carrying a goat and a couple of kids.

24 Jan    The moon is more than 90 percent illuminated tonight. The Gemini Twins are 1½ fist-widths to the moon’s right, and magnitude 0.5 Procyon is 1½ fist-widths below the moon.

25 Jan    The moon is midway between Procyon, 1 fist-width to the lower right, and the Gemini Twins, to the upper left.

26 Jan    Rising within a few minutes of sunset and setting shortly before sunrise, tonight’s full moon is known as the Old Moon. Procyon is 1½ fist widths to the moon’s right or upper right. The Gemini Twins are nearly 2 fist-widths above the moon, and Regulus is 2 fist-widths to the lower left.

USPS Star Calendar for 13-19 January 6 January 2013

Posted by amedalen in January 2013.
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13 Jan    Magnitude 1.2 Mars is less than 1 fist-width below the thin waxing crescent moon low in the west at dusk. About 5 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

14 Jan   Today is 1 Jan. in the Julian calendar, which was used until 1582 when it was replaced with the Gregorian calendar. This is the first day of the Roman year 2766 AUC. AUC stands for ab urbe condita, which means “from the founding of the city (Rome).”

15 Jan    You will need binoculars to see a group of fourth- and fifth-magnitude stars that forms a pentagon directly above the moon tonight. Part of the constellation Pisces, the stars are within 3 finger-widths of the moon. The brightest, magnitude 3.9 gamma Piscium, is a little more than 1 finger-width to the moon’s upper right.

16 Jan    Pegasus stands to the right of the moon this evening.

18 Jan    The two stars 1 fist-width above the first-quarter moon are magnitude 2.7 Sheratan and magnitude 2.2 Hamal in the constellation Aries, the Ram. Using binoculars, can you spot the fifth-magnitude star just below Sheratan? How about the one to Hamal’s lower right?

USPS Star Calendar for 6-12 January 30 December 2012

Posted by amedalen in January 2013.
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6 Jan    Before first light, look for the waning crescent moon between Saturn, 3 finger-widths to the lower left, and Spica, 1 fist-width to the upper right.

7 Jan    Before dawn, the moon hangs out in the constellation Libra, the Scales. Using binoculars, look for the triangle of stars that make up Libra’s body, the brightest of which is magnitude 2.7 Zubeneschamali (Northern Claw), 1 fist-width to the moon’s upper left. Magnitude 3.4 Brachium (sigma Librae) is 3 finger-widths to the lower right, and magnitude 2.9 Zubenelgenubi (Southern Claw) is 2 finger-widths to the upper right, midway between the moon and Saturn.  

8 Jan    Rising 3½ hours before the sun, the waning crescent moon is low in the southeast before first light in the head of the Scorpion, Scorpius. The moon is midway between Saturn, 2 fist-widths to the upper right, and Venus, to the lower left near the horizon. Venus rises a little more than an hour before the sun, so you will need to look quickly before it fades from view.

10 Jan    Rising a little more than an hour before the sun, Venus and the moon are low in the east at first light and fade in the glow of the rising sun. Only 5 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated. The moon is at perigee, 56.45 earth-radii or 360,000 kilometers away.

11 Jan    New at 1944 UT, the moon rises and sets within a few minutes of the sun.