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USPS Star Calendar for 28 July-3 August 21 July 2013

Posted by amedalen in August 2013, July 2013.
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28 Jul    High in the south at first light, the waning gibbous moon is between Alpheratz, 2½ fist-widths to the upper right, and magnitude 2.0 Mira, 2 fist-widths to the lower left in the constellation Cetus, the Sea Monster.

29 Jul    Rising around midnight, the last-quarter moon (1743 UT) is high in the southwest before dawn tomorrow.

30 Jul    Rising 1½ hours before the sun, magnitude 0.2 Mercury reaches its greatest elongation west of the sun and should be visible before the sky brightens. With your binoculars, try spotting magnitude 1.6 Mars 3 finger-widths above Mercury and magnitude –1.9 Jupiter 1½ finger-widths to Mars’ upper right.

31 Jul    High in the east before dawn, look for the Pleiades Cluster 3 finger-widths to the waning crescent moon’s upper left. The moon is about one-third illuminated.

1 Aug    Magnitude 1.1 Aldebaran is 1 finger-width to the moon’s lower right before dawn.

3 Aug    Over the next few days, the waning crescent moon passes by three planets in the pre-dawn sky. This morning look for magnitude –1.9 Jupiter, 3 finger-widths to the moon’s left or lower left, and magnitude 1.6 Mars, 3 finger-widths to Jupiter’s lower left. About 10 percent illuminated, the moon is at apogee, 63.63 Earth-radii (252,000 miles) away.

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USPS Star Calendar for 10-16 February 3 February 2013

Posted by amedalen in February 2013.
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10 Feb    New at 720 UT, the moon rises and sets within a few minutes of the sun.

11 Feb    If you have a clear view of the western horizon at dusk, you can catch a glimpse of magnitude -0.9 Mercury 3 finger-widths to the waxing crescent moon’s lower left and magnitude 1.2 Mars 1 finger-width below Mercury. Watch them disappear below the horizon. Setting a little more than an hour after the sun, Mars is followed 15 minutes later by Mercury. The moon sets a half hour later. The equation of time is at the minimum for the year, -14.25 minutes. That means at noon mean solar time the sun has not reached the meridian; it will do so 14 minutes later.

12 Feb    Today is Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday), the day before the season of lent begins.

13 Feb    Look low in the west at nightfall to spot magnitude 2.1 Alpheratz 2 fist-widths to the thin waxing crescent moon’s upper right. Magnitude 2.0 Mira is 2½ fist-widths to the upper left, and magnitude 2.2 Hamal is the same distance above the moon.

14 Feb    Mira, in the constellation Cetus, the Whale, is 2 fist-widths to the moon’s left tonight. To the ancient Greeks, Cetus was a sea monster that Perseus destroyed before it could attack Andromeda. Today is St. Valentine’s Day.

15 Feb    Early this evening, magnitude -2.4 Jupiter is 3 fist-widths to the waxing crescent moon’s upper left high in the west. Magnitude 1.1 Aldebaran is 3 finger-widths to the left or lower left of Jupiter, and Orion is a couple of fist-widths beyond Aldebaran. The moon is 25 percent illuminated.

16 Feb    Mercury reaches its greatest elongation east of the sun, a little over 18 degrees, and sets 1½ hours after the sun.

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.