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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 4-10 November 28 October 2012

Posted by amedalen in November 2012.
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4 Nov    High in the south before dawn, Orion is to the far lower right of the waning gibbous moon. The Gemini Twins are to the moon’s upper left, and Procyon is 1½ fist-widths to the lower left. Daylight saving time ends at 0200. Turn your clocks back one hour.

5 Nov    Before dawn, Procyon is 1 fist-width below the moon, and the Gemini Twins are the same distance to the upper right.

7 Nov    Magnitude 1.3 Regulus is 1 fist-width to the moon’s left before dawn, and magnitude 0.5 Procyon is 2½ fist-widths to the right.

8 Nov    Regulus is less than 4 finger-widths above the moon before first light. About 40 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

9 Nov    The moon rises well after midnight, making the next few nights a great opportunity to view stars normally overwhelmed by its glow. Let’s start at Orion, the Mighty Hunter. The three stars that make up Orion’s belt are nearly vertical. Magnitude 1.7 Bellatrix is to the belt’s upper left. From Bellatrix, look 4 finger-widths to the upper right to find the six third- and fourth-magnitude stars that form his curved shield. Look to the belt’s lower right to find the Orion Nebula.

10 Nov    From Orion, look up to find magnitude 1.1 Aldebaran this evening. Brilliant magnitude -2.8 Jupiter lingers to the left. Using binoculars, explore the area above and to the right of Aldebaran. You should be able to make out at least a half dozen fourth-magnitude stars.