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USPS Star Calendar for 2-8 December 25 November 2012

Posted by amedalen in December 2012.
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2 Dec    By midnight, the moon sits high in the east with magnitude 0.5 Procyon 1 fist-width to the right, the Gemini Twins 1½ fist-widths to the upper left, and the Big Dipper standing on its handle far to the lower left.

3 Dec    Jupiter is at opposition (on the opposite side of the earth from the sun).

4 Dec    Late tonight, Regulus is nearly 3 finger-widths to the waning gibbous moon’s left. About 75 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated. Mercury reaches its greatest elongation 20.5 degrees west of the sun, which means it sets nearly an hour after the sun.

5 Dec    High in the south before dawn, Regulus is 2 finger-widths above the moon. Using binoculars, see if you can spot the two stars between them, magnitude 4.9 pi Leonis and magnitude 4.6 31 Leonis

6 Dec    With the moon rising well after midnight, tonight’s dark skies make for good stargazing. At dusk, look for Cygnus, the Swan, high in the west at dusk. First find the Summer Triangle’s three bright stars: Altair at the lower left corner, Vega at the lower right corner, and Deneb at the top. Magnitude 2.3 Sadr is 3 finger-widths to Deneb’s lower left. The two stars 4 finger-widths at right angles from Sadr make up the wings. Continuing in a straight line from Deneb through Sadr another 1½ fist-widths completes the neck and head of the Swan.

8 Dec    During the next few days, look to the southeast before dawn as the moon passes by one star and three planets: Spica, Saturn, Venus and Mercury. This morning, the moon, the star and the planets line up from the upper right to the lower left. From the moon, measure 1 fist-width to the lower left to magnitude 1.2 Spica. Moving another fist-width to the lower left takes us to magnitude 0.6 Saturn. One more fist-width brings us to magnitude -4.0 Venus. Finally, 3 finger-widths beyond Venus is magnitude -0.5 Mercury.

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USPS Star Calendar for 13 to 19 June 6 June 2010

Posted by amedalen in June 2010.
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14 Jun
The waxing crescent moon sets a little more than 2 hours after the sun. Low in the west at dusk, brilliant magnitude –4.0 Venus is just 2 finger-widths above or to the upper right of the moon. The Gemini Twins are 1 fist-width to the right. Use binoculars.

15 Jun
As the sky darkens this evening, look for Venus 1 fist-width to the moon’s right or lower right. The Gemini Twins, Pollux and Castor, lie just beyond Venus. Magnitude 1.3 Regulus is 1½ fist-widths to the upper left and magnitude 1.2 Mars is in a straight line 2 finger-widths beyond Regulus. Even though they are similar in brightness, Mars is easy to distinguish from Regulus because of its redness. Continuing the line beyond Mars another 2½ fist-widths brings us to magnitude 1.0 Saturn. The moon is at perigee, 57.37 earth-radii away.

16 Jun
In the west an hour after sunset, the moon is 2½ fist-widths above the horizon. Regulus is a little more than 2 finger-widths above or to the upper right, and Mars is 4 finger-widths to the upper left. With your binoculars, you should have no trouble spotting magnitude 3.9 rho Leonis, less than 1 finger-width to Mars’ left. As long as you have your binoculars out, look for a dim star one-half finger-width to the moon’s upper left. This is magnitude 4.9 pi Leonis.

On this day in 1963, Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman in space, spending 3 days in orbit aboard the Soviet spacecraft Vostok 6.

17 Jun
Mars and Regulus are about 1 fist-width to the moon’s right tonight. The star 2 fist-widths above the moon is magnitude 2.2 Denebola. Saturn is 1½ fist-widths to the moon’s upper left.

18 Jun
Tonight, Saturn is 4 finger-widths above the moon, and Mars and Regulus are a little more than 2 fist-widths to the right.

19 Jun
Saturn is 1½ fist-widths to the moon’s upper right, while Spica is 1 fist-width to the upper left this evening. The moon is at first quarter at 0430 UT.