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USPS Star Calendar for 13-19 January 6 January 2013

Posted by amedalen in January 2013.
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13 Jan    Magnitude 1.2 Mars is less than 1 fist-width below the thin waxing crescent moon low in the west at dusk. About 5 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

14 Jan   Today is 1 Jan. in the Julian calendar, which was used until 1582 when it was replaced with the Gregorian calendar. This is the first day of the Roman year 2766 AUC. AUC stands for ab urbe condita, which means “from the founding of the city (Rome).”

15 Jan    You will need binoculars to see a group of fourth- and fifth-magnitude stars that forms a pentagon directly above the moon tonight. Part of the constellation Pisces, the stars are within 3 finger-widths of the moon. The brightest, magnitude 3.9 gamma Piscium, is a little more than 1 finger-width to the moon’s upper right.

16 Jan    Pegasus stands to the right of the moon this evening.

18 Jan    The two stars 1 fist-width above the first-quarter moon are magnitude 2.7 Sheratan and magnitude 2.2 Hamal in the constellation Aries, the Ram. Using binoculars, can you spot the fifth-magnitude star just below Sheratan? How about the one to Hamal’s lower right?


USPS Star Calendar for 18-24 November 11 November 2012

Posted by amedalen in November 2012.
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18 Nov    Venus and Spica rise 2½ hours before the sun.

19 Nov    Venus falls closer to the horizon and is now 2 finger-widths to Spica’s lower left.

20 Nov    Tonight is also a good night for viewing the Leonids. The first-quarter moon is high in the south at nightfall. Most nearby stars are third magnitude or dimmer. Magnitude 0.9 Altair is nearly 4 fist-widths to the upper right, and magnitude 1.3 Fomalhaut is 2½ fist-widths to the lower left. How many lower-magnitude stars can you spot near the moon? Magnitude 3.2 Sadalmelik is 2 finger-widths to the upper right, and magnitude 3.0 Deneb Algedi is 1 fist-width to the lower right.

21 Nov    High in the south at dusk, the Great Square of Pegasus is a couple of fist-widths above or to the upper left of the waxing gibbous moon.

24 Nov    The moon is in the constellation Pisces, the Fish. In this faint constellation none of the stars are brighter than fourth magnitude. In Greco-Roman myth, Aphrodite and her son Heros were chased by the monster Typhon. To escape they transformed into fish and tied their tails together to make sure they would never be separated. The two fish form a V in the sky where they are tied. The moon is 1 fist-width above the base of the V.