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USPS Star Calendar for 12-18 August 5 August 2012

Posted by amedalen in August 2012.
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12 Aug    In the east before dawn, the moon is between magnitude -2.2 Jupiter, 4 finger-widths to the upper right, and magnitude -4.3 Venus, 1½ fist-widths to the lower left. Orion is to the lower right, and the bright star 2½ fist-widths to the upper left is magnitude 0.2 Capella. The dimmer star between them is magnitude 1.8 Elnath.

13 Aug    Low in the east before dawn, the moon is less than 2 finger-widths to Venus’ upper right. Only 20 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated. Look southwest at dusk to see Saturn, Mars and Spica line up within 2 finger-widths of one another. Magnitude 0.2 Saturn is on the top, magnitude 1.1 Mars is in the middle, and magnitude 1.2 Spica is on the bottom.

14 Aug    Although Saturn, Mars and Spica are still in line tonight, Mars has moved to the left and will continue to do so, leaving Saturn and Spica behind.

15 Aug    Along the eastern horizon an hour before sunrise, magnitude 0.2 Mercury is 4 fist-widths to the lower left of the thin waning crescent moon. Look quickly because the ever-elusive Mercury fades from view as the sky brightens.

16 Aug    Mercury reaches its greatest elongation west, 18.7 degrees from the sun. Mercury rises 1½ hours before the sun and is visible before sunrise with a clear view of the eastern horizon. Rising a half hour after Mercury, the thin waning crescent is 3 finger-widths below.

17 Aug    Tonight’s new moon is perfect for stargazing. With binoculars, find Mars, Saturn and Spica near the western horizon at dusk. Moving left (south) to see Scorpius and Sagittarius also hugging the horizon. Continue moving left until you are looking north to the Big Dipper. Follow the dipper’s pointer stars to Cassiopeia, the Lazy W constellation.

18 Aug    Now that you have found Cassiopeia, look 3 fist-widths to the upper right to magnitude 1.3 Deneb, 2 fist-widths above Deneb to magnitude 0.1 Vega, and 3½ fist-widths to Vega’s lower right to magnitude 0.9 Altair. These three stars form the Summer Triangle.

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USPS Star Calendar for 20-26 May 13 May 2012

Posted by amedalen in May 2012.
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20 May    The western United States is in for a treat as the moon passes directly between Earth and the sun, causing an annular eclipse. The moon covers slightly less than 95 percent of the sun, which appears as a ring, or annulus, around the moon. The maximum eclipse begins at 1830 across much of northern California, an hour later in New Mexico and an hour after that in western Texas.

22 May    Low in the west at dusk, magnitude -4.3 Venus is 3 finger-widths to the moon’s right. Using binoculars, see if you can spot magnitude 1.8 Elnath 1 finger-width beyond Venus.

23 May    The moon sets 1½ hours after sunset and is only about 5 percent illuminated. The moon is at the base of Gemini with Venus far to the lower right.

25 May    Tonight, the Gemini Twins, Pollux and Castor, are more than 1 fist-width to the moon’s right.

USPS Star Calendar for 3 to 9 April 27 March 2011

Posted by amedalen in April 2011.
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3 Apr    New moon at 1432 UT

6 Apr    The Pleiades Cluster is 3 finger-widths above the waxing crescent moon in the west at sunset. Less than 10 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

7 Apr    The Pleiades Cluster is 4 finger-widths to the moon’s lower right tonight. Magnitude 1.1 Aldebaran is the same distance to the left, and Orion is farther left. Using binoculars, try to spot the two magnitude 4.4 stars to the moon’s upper left, kappa Tauri and upsilon Tauri.

8 Apr    Aldebaran, the brightest star in Taurus, the Bull, is 1 fist-width below the moon at sunset. Magnitude 1.8 Elnath is 3 finger-widths to the moon’s upper right, and magnitude 3.0 zeta Tauri is 3 finger-widths to its upper left. Orion is to the lower left. About 20 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

9 Apr    High in the west at sunset, magnitude 0.2 Capella is 2.5 fist-widths to the waxing crescent moon’s right, and magnitude 0.5 Procyon is the same distance to its upper left. The Gemini Twins are 2 fist-widths above the moon, and Orion is to the lower left. About 25 percent 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