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USPS Star Calendar for 22-28 September 15 September 2013

Posted by amedalen in September 2013.
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22 Sep    Today marks the first day of fall, the autumnal equinox, as the sun crosses the celestial equator into the Southern Hemisphere.

23 Sep    Using binoculars, look for the Pleiades Cluster 3 finger-widths to the moon’s upper left this evening.

24 Sep    High in the southwest before dawn, the Pleiades Cluster is 3 finger-widths to the moon’s upper right, and Aldebaran is less than 1 fist-width to the left.

25 Sep    In the south before dawn, bright magnitude 1.1 Aldebaran is 2 finger-widths to the moon’s lower right. To the moon’s lower left, Orion the Mighty Hunter dominates the southern sky.

26 Sep    Rising shortly after midnight, the first-quarter moon is high in the south before dawn, midway between Jupiter to the lower left and Aldebaran to the upper right. The brightest star in Orion, magnitude 0.6 Betelgeuse, is 1 fist-width below the moon.

27 Sep    Magnitude 1.9 Alhena, in the constellation Gemini, is 1 finger-width below the moon in the pre-dawn sky. The Twins, Pollux and Castor, are nearly 2 fist-widths to the left. Jupiter is 1 fist-width to the moon’s lower left. The moon is at apogee, 63.39 Earth-radii (251,000 miles) away. Last-quarter moon at 0355 UT

28 Sep    The moon is between magnitude –2.2 Jupiter, 3 finger-widths to the upper left, and magnitude 0.5 Procyon, a little more than 1 fist-width to the lower right.

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USPS Star Calendar for 31 March-6 April 26 March 2013

Posted by amedalen in April 2013, March 2013.
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31 Mar    Mercury reaches its greatest elongation west of the sun for the year, at nearly 28 degrees. Rising nearly an hour before the sun, Mercury has not been this far from the sun since 2006. Antares is 3 or 4 finger-widths to the moon’s lower left before dawn in the south. Saturn is more than 2 fist-widths to the left. The moon is at perigee, 367,000 kilometers away.

1 Apr    High in the west at sunset, magnitude -2.1 Jupiter is less than three finger-widths to the upper right of magnitude 1.1 Aldebaran; Orion is a couple of fist-widths to the left. During the month, the distance between Jupiter and Aldebaran increases as Aldebaran drops quickly, leaving Jupiter behind.

2 Apr    Rising 5 hours before the sun, the moon is low in the south at dawn above the dome of the Teapot constellation, Sagittarius.

3 Apr    The last-quarter moon rises more than 4½ hours before the sun.

4 Apr    The moon sets before the sun, making the evenings perfect for stargazing. At dusk look for Orion in the west and brilliant magnitude -2.1 Jupiter 1 fist-width to the right. Magnitude 1.1 Aldebaran is 3 finger-widths to the lower right.

5 Apr    Look to Orion’s upper left tonight to see bright magnitude 0.5 Procyon, 2½ fist-widths to the upper left of Betelgeuse, Orion’s left shoulder. Magnitude -1.59 Sirius, the Dog Star, is 2½ fist-widths below Procyon. Follow a line from Betelgeuse through Procyon to magnitude 1.3 Regulus, 3½ fist-widths beyond Procyon.

6 Apr    The Big Dipper, Ursa Major, stands on its handle high in the east tonight. Follow the handle’s arc 3 fist-widths to the lower right to magnitude 0.2 Arcturus, and another 3 fist-widths to magnitude 1.2 Spica. Late tonight Saturn peeks above the horizon to Spica’s lower left.

USPS Star Calendar for 17-23 March 10 March 2013

Posted by amedalen in March 2013.
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17 Mar    The waxing crescent moon lies between magnitude -2.2 Jupiter, less than 1 finger-width to the upper right, and magnitude 1.1 Aldebaran, less than 2 finger-widths to the lower left.

18 Mar    The moon is midway between magnitude 0.2 Capella, 2½ fist-widths to the upper right, and magnitude 0.3 Rigel, to the lower left. Several other bright first-magnitude stars are nearby tonight: magnitude 0.6 Betelgeuse 1½ fist-widths to the left, magnitude 1.1 Aldebaran 1 fist-width below, magnitude 0.5 Procyon 3½ fist-widths to the upper left.

19 Mar    The first-quarter moon is at apogee, 63.38 earth-radii or 404,000 kilometers away.

20 Mar    The vernal equinox occurs at 1102 UT as the sun crosses the celestial equator, headed north, marking the first day of spring for the northern hemisphere, when day and night are approximately equal all over the world. “Equinox” comes to us from the Latin, meaning “equal night.” The precise date of equal day and night depends on your location, however. If you are at 60 degrees north latitude, day and night are equal on 18 March. If you are between 40 and 55 degrees north latitude, your date is 17 March. Between 30 and 35 degrees, it’s 16 March. The date becomes earlier the closer you are to the equator.

21 Mar    High in the south at dusk, Orion is far to the waxing gibbous moon’s lower right, while the Gemini Twins are to the upper left and Procyon is to the lower left. The Big Dipper stands on its handle high in the northwest.

22 Mar    The moon hangs high in the south as the sky darkens this evening. Procyon is 1 fist-width to the lower left, and the Gemini Twins are the same distance above. Far to the lower left, Regulus is the brightest object in that area of sky.

23 Mar    Rising 3½ hours before sunset, the moon is high in the southeast at dusk. Regulus is 4 finger-widths to the left, and the Big Dipper stands on its handle to the far left. As evening passes, the Big Dipper rotates counter-clockwise and is upside-down, high in the north at midnight.

USPS Star Calendar for 17-23 February 10 February 2013

Posted by amedalen in February 2013.
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17 Feb    The Pleiades Cluster is 3 finger-widths to the right or upper right of the first-quarter moon high in the southwest early tonight. Jupiter is 2 finger-widths to the upper left.

18 Feb    The waxing gibbous moon has moved to Jupiter’s left tonight, and Aldebaran is 2 finger-widths to the moon’s lower right.

19 Feb    Orion is below the moon this evening. The second brightest star, magnitude 0.6 Betelgeuse, is 1 fist-width below or to the lower left of the moon. Two-and-a-half fist-widths beyond Betelgeuse lies magnitude -1.59 Sirius, the Dog Star, in the constellation Canis Major, the Great Dog. In myth, Canis Major is one of Orion’s hunting dogs. The moon is at apogee, 63.42 earth-radii or 404,000 kilometers away.

20 Feb    The bright star 1 finger-width to the moon’s lower left tonight is magnitude 1.9 Alhena in the constellation Gemini, the Twins.  Pollux and Castor, the Twins, are nearly 2 fist-widths to the moon’s upper left. Nearly 75 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

21 Feb    The moon lies midway between the Gemini Twins, to the upper left, and magnitude 0.5 Procyon, below.

22 Feb    Rising 3 hours before sunset, the moon, nearly 90 percent illuminated, is visible before sunset. As daylight fades, watch as stars appear near the moon. The first to emerge should be the brightest, magnitude -1.59 Sirius, which is 3½ fist-widths to the moon’s lower right. The next should be magnitude 0.5 Procyon, 1 fist-width to the moon’s right.

23 Feb    Tonight, the moon is between Regulus, 1½ fist-widths to the lower left, and Procyon, 2 fist-widths to the upper right. The Big Dipper stands on its handle, far to the left.

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 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.

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 9-15 September 2 September 2012

Posted by amedalen in September 2012.
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9 Sep    In the southeast before dawn, the moon lines up between Jupiter, a little more than 1 fist-width to the upper right, and Venus, 3½ fist-widths to the lower left. Orion is to the lower right, and magnitude 0.2 Capella is 2½ fist widths to the upper left.

10 Sep    Now closer to Venus, the moon is midway between Venus and Jupiter. Magnitude 0.6 Betelgeuse is 1½ fist-widths to the right, and the Gemini Twins, Pollux and Castor, are the same distance to the left or lower left. Magnitude 0.5 Procyon is 2 fist-widths directly below the moon.

11 Sep    The waning crescent moon closes in on Venus. This morning it is little more than 1 fist-width above the planet. Procyon is to the lower right, and the Gemini Twins are to the upper left. The Big Dipper stands on its handle to the far left.

12 Sep    The moon and Venus rise side by side nearly four hours before the sun. Venus is 2 finger-widths to the waning crescent moon’s left. Less than 20 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

13 Sep    Only 10 percent illuminated, the waning crescent moon rises less than 3 hours before the sun.

14 Sep    Look to the right of the sun as it dips below the horizon to see the Big Dipper standing with its handle slightly elevated. Follow the dipper’s arc to the lower left to magnitude 0.2 Arcturus.

USPS Star Calendar for 29 January-4 February 22 January 2012

Posted by amedalen in February 2012, January 2012.
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29 Jan    High in the southwest at nightfall, the moon is a little more than 3 finger-widths to Jupiter’s right.

30 Jan    Jupiter is a little more than 3 finger-widths to the moon’s lower right at dusk. The moon is at apogee, 63.39 Earth-radii, 404,000 kilometers, away.

31 Jan    At dusk, look for the Pleiades Cluster 4 finger-widths to the moon’s upper left and Jupiter nearly 2 fist-widths to its lower right.

1 Feb    High in the south at sunset, the Pleiades Cluster is 2 finger-widths to the moon’s upper right, and magnitude 1.1 Aldebaran is 4 finger-widths to the lower left. Orion lies farther to the lower left. The bright “star” 3 fist-widths to the lower right is magnitude -2.3 Jupiter.

2 Feb    Aldebaran is 3 finger-widths to the waxing gibbous moon’s lower right tonight. More than two-thirds of the moon’s surface is illuminated. Today is Candlemas or Groundhog Day, one of the cross-quarter days halfway between solstices and equinoxes.

3 Feb    Look high in the south 3 hours after sunset to see the moon surrounded by Aldebaran nearly 2 fist-widths to the left, the Gemini Twins 2½ fist-widths to the right, Orion 1 fist-width below and magnitude 0.2 Capella nearly overhead.

4 Feb    Look to the east at dusk to see the Gemini Twins 1½ fist-widths to the moon’s lower left and magnitude 0.6 Betelgeuse, the brightest star on Orion, the same distance to the right. Magnitude 0.5 Procyon is nearly 2 fist-widths below the moon.

USPS Star Calendar for 1-7 January 25 December 2011

Posted by amedalen in January 2012.
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1 Jan    High in the south at sunset, magnitude -2.6 Jupiter is 1 fist-width to the first-quarter moon’s lower left, and magnitude -4.0 Venus is near the western horizon, more than 6 fist-widths to the moon’s lower right. Keep an eye on these planets as they grow closer during the coming weeks and months.

2 Jan    At dusk, look high in the south for Jupiter, 2 finger-widths below the waxing gibbous moon. The moon is at apogee, 63.43 Earth-radii, or 405,000 kilometers, away.

3 Jan    Late tonight, the moon is high in the southwest, midway between Jupiter, a little more than 1 fist-width to the lower right, and the Pleiades Cluster, to the upper left. Orion is high in the south.

4 Jan    About 75 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated. Early this evening, look for the Pleiades Cluster 2 finger-widths to the moon’s left and Jupiter far to the right or upper right, depending on your time of viewing.

5 Jan    The bright star 3 finger-widths below the moon tonight is magnitude 1.1 Aldebaran. Orion is a couple of fist-widths beyond Aldebaran. Earth is at perihelion, its closest approach to the sun for the year. It is only 0.98327 astronomical units, about 147,096,000 kilometers, away.

6 Jan    The moon rises about 2 hours before sunset. Low in the east at dusk, the first star to appear is magnitude 0.2 Capella, 2 fist-widths to the moon’s upper left. Next is magnitude 0.6 Betelgeuse, 1½ fist-widths to the lower right near the horizon. Aldebaran is next, appearing 1 fist-width to the moon’s upper right.

7 Jan    Straddled by Orion to the right and Gemini to the lower left, the moon rises a little more than 1 hour before sunset. Later tonight look just above the horizon for magnitude 0.5 Procyon, 2½ fist-widths below the moon.