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USPS Star Calendar for 28 October-3 November 21 October 2012

Posted by amedalen in November 2012, October 2012.
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29 Oct    The full moon rises at sunset. Later tonight, the star 2 fist-widths to the moon’s lower right is magnitude 2.0 Mira, in the constellation Cetus, the whale that swallowed Jonah.

30 Oct    Rising 1½ hours after sunset, the moon and the Pleiades Cluster are high in the southeast at midnight. The Pleiades is 3 finger-widths to the moon’s left. Aldebaran is 1½ fist-widths below the Pleiades, and Jupiter is 3 to 4 finger-widths to Aldebaran’s left.

31 Oct    The moon lies midway between the Pleiades, 3 finger-widths above, and Aldebaran, the same distance below. Jupiter is less than 1 fist-width to the moon’s lower left.

1 Nov    Less than 1 finger-width separates Jupiter and the moon as they rise above the horizon. By midnight, Jupiter is 1 finger-width above the moon high in the east. Aldebaran is 3 finger-widths to Jupiter’s right and bright magnitude 0.2 Capella is 2½ fist-widths to Jupiter’s upper left. The moon is at apogee, 63.67 Earth-radii (406,000 kilometers) away.

3 Nov    The waning gibbous moon and the Gemini Twins, 1½ fist-widths to the left, rise late this evening. Betelgeuse is 1½ fist-widths to the moon’s right. The moon is more than 80 percent illuminated.

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USPS Star Calendar for 21-27 October 14 October 2012

Posted by amedalen in October 2012.
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21 Oct    At evening twilight, magnitude 0.9 Altair, in the Summer Triangle, is 2½ fist-widths above the waxing gibbous moon low in the south. The triangle’s other stars are magnitude 0.1 Vega, 3 fist-widths to Altair’s upper right, and magnitude 1.3 Deneb, 2 fist-widths to Vega’s upper left or nearly overhead.

22 Oct    In the south at sunset, magnitude 0.9 Altair—in the constellation Aquila, the Eagle—is 2½ fist-widths to the first-quarter moon’s upper right. In Greek mythology, the eagle Aquila carried Zeus’ thunderbolts.

23 Oct    High in the south at sunset, the waxing crescent moon lies between two third-magnitude stars, so get out your binoculars. Magnitude 3.1 Sadalsuud in Aquarius, the Water Bearer, is 2 finger-widths above the moon, and magnitude 3.0 Deneb Algedi—in the constellation Capricornus, the Sea Goat—is little more than 3 finger-widths below the moon.

25 Oct    Saturn, in conjunction with the sun, passes behind it.

26 Oct    Mercury reaches its greatest elongation east, 24.1 degrees from the sun. Look quickly at dusk to spy Mercury before it slips below the western horizon.

27 Oct    Rising less than an hour before sunset, the nearly full moon is high in the east as the stars appear. Directly above the moon, the Great Square of Pegasus includes three stars from the constellation Pegasus and one borrowed from neighboring Andromeda. The nearest star of the square is magnitude 2.9 Algenib, 1 fist-width above the moon. Magnitude 2.6 Markab is 1½ fist-widths to the upper right, and magnitude 2.6 Scheat is 1½ fist-widths to the upper left. Andromeda’s magnitude 2.1 Alpheratz, 1½ fist-widths to the lower left, completes the square.

USPS Star Calendar for 14-20 October 7 October 2012

Posted by amedalen in October 2012.
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14 Oct    Following a line from the Big Dipper’s pointer stars through and beyond Polaris brings us to Cassiopeia, the Lazy W constellation. In Greek mythology, she was the wife of King Cepheus and mother of Andromeda. In Roman myth, Cassiopeia was chained to her throne as punishment for her boastfulness. To Arab astronomers, Cassiopeia’s stars formed the main part of the Camel constellation.

17 Oct    The moon is at perigee, 56.55 Earth-radii (361,000 kilometers) away.

18 Oct    Low in the west at dusk, magnitude 1.2 Mars is 3 finger-widths to the thin, waxing crescent moon’s lower right. Less than 2 finger-widths to Mars’ lower left sits its red rival, magnitude 1.1 Antares. Using binoculars, compare their colors. Don’t dally, because they sink below the horizon within two hours of sunset.

19 Oct    Low in the southwest at dusk, the waxing crescent moon is just above the dome of the Teapot constellation, Sagittarius. Arab astronomers saw these stars as ostriches on their way to drink from the Milky Way. The moon’s surface is 20 percent illuminated.

20 Oct    Having moved to the left, the moon is above the handle of the Teapot. The star 3 finger-widths to the moon’s lower left is magnitude 2.1 Nunki.

USPS Star Calendar for 7-13 October 30 September 2012

Posted by amedalen in October 2012.
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7 Oct    Only three days after the beginning of retrograde, Venus is already 2 finger-widths below Regulus in the east before dawn. The Big Dipper stands on its handle, 4 fist-widths to the left.

8 Oct    High in the south before dawn, magnitude 0.5 Procyon is a little more than 1 fist-width below the last-quarter moon; the Gemini Twins are about the same distance to the upper left.

9 Oct    Procyon is 1 fist-width to the moon’s lower right this morning.

11 Oct    Regulus is 3 finger-widths to the moon’s lower left at first light, and Venus is 4 finger-widths below Regulus. About 20 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

12 Oct    Now 1 fist-width below Regulus, Venus is 3 finger-widths to the waning crescent moon’s left before dawn.

13 Oct    At evening twilight, look for the Big Dipper, also known as Ursa Major or the Great Bear, near the northern horizon. Find the pointer stars, which form the side of the dipper’s bowl opposite the handle, and follow them to magnitude 2.1 Polaris, the North Star. In Cherokee legend, the dipper’s handle represents hunters pursuing the bear.

USPS Star Calendar for 30 September-6 October 23 September 2012

Posted by amedalen in October 2012, September 2012.
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1 Oct    Rising less than an hour after sunset, the moon is high in the east mid-evening, with the constellation Aries, the Ram, to its left. Aries’ two brightest stars are magnitude 2.2 Hamal, 4 finger-widths to the moon’s upper left, and magnitude 2.7 Sheratan, which is 2 finger-widths to Hamal’s right.

3 Oct    Look to the west before dawn as magnitude -4.1 Venus passes within 0.15 degrees of magnitude 1.3 Regulus, making it the year’s closest appulse of a planet with a first-magnitude star. Don’t miss this viewing opportunity.

4 Oct    The Pleiades Cluster is 2 finger-widths to the moon’s upper right this morning. After its close approach to Regulus yesterday, Venus begins to retrograde (move westward) and falls away quickly during the coming weeks.

5 Oct    High in the southwest before dawn, magnitude -2.6 Jupiter is 2 finger-widths to the moon’s upper left, and magnitude 1.1 Aldebaran is the same distance to the lower left. Orion is nearly 2 fist-widths to the lower left. The moon is at apogee, 63.53 Earth-radii (405,000 kilometers) away.

6 Oct    Before first light high in the south, Jupiter is less than 4 finger-widths to the waning gibbous moon’s lower right, and Aldebaran is the same distance below Jupiter. Magnitude 0.6 Betelgeuse, Orion’s brightest star, is 1½ fist-widths to the moon’s lower left.