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USPS Star Calendar for 2-8 March 23 February 2014

Posted by amedalen in March 2014.
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3 Mar    The waxing crescent moon sets three hours after the sun. Less than 10 percent illuminated, the moon is surrounded by three second-magnitude stars: Alpheratz, 2½ fist-widths to the right; Mira, 2 fist-widths to the upper left; and Hamal, 2 fist-widths above.

4 Mar    Tonight the moon lies between Mira and Hamal. If you are far away from city lights, you should be able to spot the third-magnitude star 2 finger-widths below Hamal, magnitude 2.7 Sheratan. Both stars are in the constellation Aries, the Ram.

6 Mar    In the early evening, the Pleiades Cluster is 3 finger-widths to the moon’s upper right high in the west. About 25 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

7 Mar    As the sky darkens and the stars become visible, look for Aldebaran, 1 finger-width below the moon high in the southwest at sunset.

8 Mar    Several first-magnitude stars and a planet surround the moon high in the south at sunset: Magnitude 0.6 Betelgeuse is 1 fist-width to the lower left; magnitude 1.1 Aldebaran is 1 fist-width to the lower right; magnitude 0.2 Capella is 2½ fist-widths to the upper right; and magnitude –2.4 Jupiter is 1½ fist-widths to the upper left.

USPS Star Calendar for 10-16 March 3 March 2013

Posted by amedalen in March 2013.
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10 Mar    Turn your clocks forward. Daylight saving time begins at 0200. Officially, the clock hour 0200 to 0300 does not exist.

11 Mar    Tonight’s new moon will not interfere with stargazing.

13 Mar    The moon sets a little more than an hour after the sun.

14 Mar    Low in the west at dusk, Hamal and Sheratan in the constellation Aries, the Ram, are less than 1 fist-width to the thin waxing crescent moon’s upper right. Jupiter stands high to the upper left. The moon is less than 10 percent illuminated.

16 Mar    The Pleiades Cluster is 3 finger-widths to the moon’s upper right, and Jupiter is 1 fist-width to its upper left high in the west after sunset. The moon is less than one-third illuminated.

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 25 November-1 December 18 November 2012

Posted by amedalen in December 2012, November 2012.
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25 Nov    Magnitude 2.2 Hamal, the brightest star in the constellation Aries, the Ram, is 4 finger-widths to the moon’s upper left this evening. The Babylonians, Egyptians, Persians and Greeks all called this group of stars the Ram.

26 Nov    Venus is less than one-half finger-width from Saturn, which is to the lower left this morning and to the upper left tomorrow morning.

27 Nov    The Pleiades Cluster is to the moon’s upper left tonight.

28 Nov    The full moon passes within 0.67 degrees of Jupiter tonight. Aldebaran is 2 finger-widths to the lower right. The moon is at apogee, 63.71 Earth-radii (406,000 kilometers) away.

30 Nov    The moon rises 2 hours after sunset. Look for Betelgeuse 1 fist-width to the right and the Gemini Twins 2 fist-widths to the lower left. Magnitude 1.9 Alhena is almost 2 finger-widths to the lower right.

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.

USPS Star Calendar for 5-11 August 29 July 2012

Posted by amedalen in August 2012.
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5 Aug    Rising late, the waning gibbous moon is high in the southwest before dawn. Nearly 90 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

6 Aug    High in the southwest before dawn, the bright star 2 fist-widths to the moon’s upper right is magnitude 2.1 Alpheratz in the constellation Andromeda.

8 Aug    High in the south before dawn, the two stars to the moon’s upper left are magnitude 2.7 Sheratan and magnitude 2.2 Hamal, both in the constellation Aries. Jupiter is far to the lower left, and Venus lies beyond Jupiter.

10 Aug    The Pleiades Cluster is 3 finger-widths to the moon’s left, high in the southeast before first light. Magnitude -2.2 Jupiter is 1½ fist-widths to the lower left, and magnitude 1.1 Aldebaran is 2 finger-widths to Jupiter’s lower right. The moon is at apogee, 63.36 Earth-radii (404,000 kilometers) away.

11 Aug    High in the east before dawn, Jupiter is 2 finger-widths to the waning crescent moon’s lower left, and Aldebaran is farther below or to the lower right. Beyond Aldebaran, Orion reclines close to the horizon. About a third of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

USPS Star Calendar for 6 to 12 March 27 February 2011

Posted by amedalen in March 2011.
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6 Mar     At evening twilight, the thin crescent moon is 2 finger-widths to the right of magnitude -2.1 Jupiter low in the west. Less than five percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated. The moon is at apogee, nearly 252,898 miles or 63.75 Earth-radii away.

7 Mar     The waxing crescent moon is 1 fist-width above Jupiter tonight.

8 Mar     This evening, look 3 finger-widths to the moon’s upper right to find the navigational star magnitude 2.2 Hamal in the constellation Aries, the Ram. One finger-width below Hamal, you should be able to see magnitude 2.7 Sheratan. Using your binoculars, see if you can spot magnitude 4.8 gamma 1 Arietis. Today is Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday), the day before Lent begins.

10 Mar    The Pleiades Cluster is only 1 finger-width above the moon tonight. Aldebaran, the brightest star in the constellation Taurus, the Bull, is 1 fist-width to the upper left. Orion lies beyond Taurus. Use your binoculars. About one-fourth of the moon’s surface is illuminated. Today is Ash Wednesday.

11 Mar    Aldebaran is only 3 finger-widths to the moon’s lower left. The Pleiades Cluster is 1 fist-width to the lower right. About one-third of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

12 Mar    The bright star 2 fist-widths to the right or upper right of the moon is magnitude 0.2 Capella. The navigational star magnitude 1.8 Elnath is 2 finger-widths to the moon’s upper right in line with Capella. Using your binoculars, see if you can find magnitude 3.0 zeta Tauri, 1 finger-width left of the moon. First-quarter moon at 2345 UT

USPS Star Calendar for 14 to 20 November 7 November 2010

Posted by amedalen in November 2010.
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15 Magnitude -2.7 Jupiter is 3 finger-widths to the waxing gibbous moon’s lower left this evening. The moon is at apogee, 63.51 Earth-radii away.
16 Magnitude -2.6 Jupiter is 1 fist-width to the moon’s lower right tonight.
17 The Leonid meteor shower peaks tonight. Unfortunately, the best viewing won’t occur until moonset at 0400 UT tomorrow.
19 Look for magnitude 2.2 Hamal in the constellation Aries the Ram, 3 finger-widths to the moon’s upper left. The slightly dimmer magnitude 2.7 Sheratan is the same distance to the moon’s upper right. Use binoculars.
20 Magnitude -0.4 Mercury passes within 1 finger-width of magnitude 1.4 Mars this evening. They remain close for several evenings and set 1 hour after the sun. The Pleiades Cluster is 3 finger-widths to the moon’s lower left tonight. Use binoculars.

USPS Star Calendar for 29 August to 4 September 22 August 2010

Posted by amedalen in August 2010, September 2010.
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29 Aug
Magnitude 2.2 Hamal, in the constellation Aries, the Ram, is 1 fist-width directly above the moon, high in the west at dawn. Magnitude 2.7 Sheratan lies between them. Jupiter is nearly 3 fist-widths to the moon’s lower right.

31 Aug
Tonight, magnitude 1.2 Spica is less than 1 degree to Venus’ upper right, and Mars is a little more than 1 finger-width to the upper right. The Pleiades is 3 finger-widths to the left or upper left of the moon high in the south before dawn. Use binoculars.

1 Sep
Tonight, Venus, Spica and Mars form a nearly straight line. Spica is a little to the right of the much brighter Venus. The equation of time is zero. Last-quarter moon at 1722 UT. Use binoculars.

2 Sep
Watch as Venus continues to slowly pull away from Spica. Use binoculars.

3 Sep
High in the east this morning, Orion is to the right and the Gemini Twins are to the lower left of the waning crescent moon. Magnitude 0.5 Procyon is 2½ fist-widths below or to the lower right. The bright star 2½ fist-widths to the upper left is magnitude 0.2 Capella.