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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.

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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.

USPS Star Calendar for 5-11 January 29 December 2013

Posted by amedalen in January 2014.
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5 Jan    Jupiter makes its closest approach to Earth at opposition. Jupiter’s face is fully illuminated by the sun, making this the best time to view the planet and its moons. With a good pair of binoculars, you should be able to see Jupiter’s four largest moons, which appear as bright dots on either side of the planet. At magnitude –2.7, Jupiter outshines everything else in the area.  As evening passes, Jupiter climbs the eastern sky and is high in the southeast at midnight.

6 Jan    High in the south at dusk, the moon sets seven hours after the sun. About 25 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

8 Jan    Rising at midday, the first-quarter moon is high in the south at dusk and sets after midnight.

10 Jan    Two-thirds of the moon’s surface is illuminated. High in the southeast at dusk, the moon is above the constellation Taurus the Bull. Orion, the Mighty Hunter, lies on its side below Taurus.

11 Jan    High in the southeast in the early evening, the Seven Sisters (Pleiades Cluster) are less than 1 fist-width above or to the upper right of the moon, and magnitude 1.1 Aldebaran is 2 finger-widths below or to the lower left. Orion lies beyond Aldebaran. Venus is at inferior conjunction, passing between Earth and the sun. Venus will soon be visible in the pre-dawn sky.

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.