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USPS Star Calendar for 6-12 April 30 March 2014

Posted by amedalen in April 2014.
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6 Apr    High in the southwest at dusk, Jupiter is less than 3 finger-widths to the moon’s upper right. Procyon is 1½ fist-widths to the lower left.

7 Apr    The first-quarter moon lies midway between Pollux, 1 fist-width to the upper right, and Procyon, the same distance to the lower left. Jupiter is nearly 1½ fist-widths to the right.

8 Apr    Mars is at opposition, meaning it is opposite the sun when viewed from Earth. Mars rises at sunset and remains in the sky all night.

10 Apr    High in the south early tonight, bright Regulus is 2 finger-widths above the moon.

12 Apr    The moon lies between Regulus, 3 fist-widths to the upper right, and Mars, 2 fist-widths to the lower left.  

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USPS Star Calendar for 2-8 February 26 January 2014

Posted by amedalen in February 2014.
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2 Feb     Low in the west at dusk, the thin waxing crescent moon sets about four hours after the sun. With the moon less than 10 percent illuminated, tonight is good for stargazing. Magnitude –2.6 Jupiter dominates the eastern sky, outshining its closest neighbors, the Gemini Twins, Pollux and Castor, 1 fist-width to the lower left.

3 Feb    The moon sets a little later tonight, but we still have prime early evening stargazing. Orion lies on its side to Jupiter’s right. Look to the lower right of Orion’s belt to see the Orion Nebula, a birthplace of stars. To the naked eye, the Nebula appears as a fuzzy cloud, but it’s much clearer with binoculars.

4 Feb     The waxing crescent moon sits high in the west at dusk. Try to spot second-magnitude star magnitude 2.2 Deneb Kaitos 3 fist-widths to the lower left. The brightest object in the area, it should be easy to find.

6 Feb     The first-quarter moon is high in the southeast at dusk.

7 Feb     The moon lies midway between the Pleiades, 3 finger-widths to the upper right, and Aldebaran, the same distance to the left.

8 Feb     The waxing gibbous moon moves to Aldebaran’s left tonight. Jupiter is 2½ fist-widths farther left, and Orion is directly below the moon, which is two-thirds illuminated.

USPS Star Calendar for 5-11 January 29 December 2013

Posted by amedalen in January 2014.
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5 Jan    Jupiter makes its closest approach to Earth at opposition. Jupiter’s face is fully illuminated by the sun, making this the best time to view the planet and its moons. With a good pair of binoculars, you should be able to see Jupiter’s four largest moons, which appear as bright dots on either side of the planet. At magnitude –2.7, Jupiter outshines everything else in the area.  As evening passes, Jupiter climbs the eastern sky and is high in the southeast at midnight.

6 Jan    High in the south at dusk, the moon sets seven hours after the sun. About 25 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

8 Jan    Rising at midday, the first-quarter moon is high in the south at dusk and sets after midnight.

10 Jan    Two-thirds of the moon’s surface is illuminated. High in the southeast at dusk, the moon is above the constellation Taurus the Bull. Orion, the Mighty Hunter, lies on its side below Taurus.

11 Jan    High in the southeast in the early evening, the Seven Sisters (Pleiades Cluster) are less than 1 fist-width above or to the upper right of the moon, and magnitude 1.1 Aldebaran is 2 finger-widths below or to the lower left. Orion lies beyond Aldebaran. Venus is at inferior conjunction, passing between Earth and the sun. Venus will soon be visible in the pre-dawn sky.

USPS Star Calendar for 22-28 December 15 December 2013

Posted by amedalen in December 2013.
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22 Dec    Magnitude 1.3 Regulus is nearly 4 finger-widths to the moon’s upper left late tonight.

23 Dec    Regulus is 1 fist-width to the moon’s right, high in the southwest before dawn.

25 Dec    Mars is 3 finger-widths to the first-quarter moon’s upper left, high in the south before dawn.

26 Dec    In the south before dawn, the moon is between Mars, 4 finger-widths to the upper right, and Spica, 3 finger-widths to the lower left.

27 Dec    The moon has moved to the lower left of Spica, and Saturn is 2 fist-widths to the moon’s lower left.

28 Dec    Having moved closer to Saturn, the waning crescent moon stands less than 3 finger-widths to the ringed planet’s upper right.

USPS Star Calendar for 8-14 December 1 December 2013

Posted by amedalen in December 2013.
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9 Dec    The first-quarter moon is high in the south at sunset. Look for Fomalhaut 3 fist-widths below, near the horizon.

10 Dec    Venus reaches its brightest for the year at magnitude –4.9.

11 Dec    The waxing gibbous moon spends the evening traversing the southern sky setting well after midnight. About two-thirds of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

14 Dec    Rising an hour before sunset, the moon is low in the southeast in the early evening. The Pleiades Cluster is 3 finger-widths to the upper left and Aldebaran, the eye of Taurus, the Bull, is more than 1 fist-width to the lower left.

USPS Star Calendar for 24-30 November 17 November 2013

Posted by amedalen in November 2013.
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24 Nov    Now racing at 4 to 5 degrees per day, Comet ISON passes only 5 degrees from Mercury and Saturn. The comet is predicted to brighten to magnitude 0.4 to 0.0 compared with magnitude –0.7 Mercury and magnitude 0.6 Saturn. Spica is far to the upper right of Comet ISON’s head, but the tail may extend all the way up to Spica or even farther.

25 Nov    High in the south before dawn, magnitude 1.3 Regulus is 3 finger-widths to the upper left of the first-quarter moon, and Mars is 2½ fist-widths to the lower left. During the next few mornings, the moon moves left toward Mars. Mercury and Saturn are close, low in the east before dawn. They rise 1½ hours before the sun, so you will have to look quickly. Magnitude –0.7 Mercury is less than 1 degree to the upper right of magnitude 0.6 Saturn.

26 Nov    This morning, Regulus is 1½ fist-widths to the moon’s upper right, and Mars is the same distance to the lower left. Saturn is less than 1 degree above Mercury.

27 Nov    Mars is 3 finger-widths to the moon’s upper left this morning.

28 Nov    At perihelion, Comet ISON may be brighter than Sirius and Venus or even as bright as a half moon, and could be visible during daylight.

29 Nov    Spica is 1 finger-width to the moon’s lower left tonight. Only 20 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

30 Nov    The moon is between Spica, 1 fist-width to the upper right, and magnitude 0.6 Saturn, about the same distance to the lower left. Look quickly because Saturn rises less than 2 hours before the sun and will quickly be lost in the brightness.

USPS Star Calendar for 10-16 November 3 November 2013

Posted by amedalen in November 2013.
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10 Nov    The first-quarter moon is high in the south at sunset and sets just after midnight.

11 Nov    Low in the southwest at dusk, Venus enters the dome of the Teapot constellation, Sagittarius, and crosses the dome over the next few evenings, finally exiting on the 15th.

12 Nov    Using binoculars, look for Venus which passes less than 1 finger-width to the lower left of magnitude 2.9 Kaus Borealis, the uppermost star of Sagittarius’ dome.

13 Nov    The waxing gibbous moon is high in the southeast at sunset. About 80 percent of the surface is illuminated.

15 Nov    Exiting the dome of the Teapot this evening, Venus is one-half degree to the right of magnitude 3.3 Phi Sagittarii.

USPS Star Calendar for 6-12 October 30 September 2013

Posted by amedalen in October 2013.
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6 Oct    The sun sets 1 hour before the waxing crescent moon. If you have a clear view of the western horizon, you may catch a glimpse of Mercury to the lower left and Saturn just above the moon. This is a good opportunity to view Mercury, which in 3 days will reach its greatest elongation east of the sun.

7 Oct    At evening twilight, magnitude –4.2 Venus will be 4 finger-widths to the left of the thin crescent moon.

8 Oct    Tonight the moon forms a triangle in the southwest with Venus, 3 finger-widths to the lower right, and Antares, the heart of the Scorpion, the same distance to the lower left.

9 Oct    This evening, Mercury reaches its greatest elongation, 25.3 degrees east of the sun.

10 Oct    The moon is at perigee, 57.98 Earth-radii (370,000 kilometers) away. This is the second-farthest perigee of the year.

11 Oct    The first-quarter moon is high in the south at dusk. Magnitude 0.9 Altair is 3 fist-widths above the moon.

12 Oct    Over the next few mornings, Mars and Regulus pass near each other, giving early risers quite a show. In the east, magnitude 1.6 Mars is 1 finger-width above magnitude 1.3 Regulus.

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.

USPS Star Calendar for 8-14 September 1 September 2013

Posted by amedalen in September 2013.
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8 Sep    Venus is now to Spica’s upper left, and the thin waxing crescent moon is less than 1 finger-width to Venus’ left. All three occupy a 1½-finger-width diameter circle.

9 Sep    Magnitude 0.7 Saturn is 3 finger-widths to the moon’s right. Less than 20 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

11 Sep    The moon is 3 finger-widths above Antares, the red-orange heart of Scorpius.

12 Sep    First-quarter moon at 1708 UT

13 Sep    The waxing gibbous moon is above the Teapot constellation Sagittarius.