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USPS Star Calendar for 7-13 October 30 September 2012

Posted by amedalen in October 2012.
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7 Oct    Only three days after the beginning of retrograde, Venus is already 2 finger-widths below Regulus in the east before dawn. The Big Dipper stands on its handle, 4 fist-widths to the left.

8 Oct    High in the south before dawn, magnitude 0.5 Procyon is a little more than 1 fist-width below the last-quarter moon; the Gemini Twins are about the same distance to the upper left.

9 Oct    Procyon is 1 fist-width to the moon’s lower right this morning.

11 Oct    Regulus is 3 finger-widths to the moon’s lower left at first light, and Venus is 4 finger-widths below Regulus. About 20 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

12 Oct    Now 1 fist-width below Regulus, Venus is 3 finger-widths to the waning crescent moon’s left before dawn.

13 Oct    At evening twilight, look for the Big Dipper, also known as Ursa Major or the Great Bear, near the northern horizon. Find the pointer stars, which form the side of the dipper’s bowl opposite the handle, and follow them to magnitude 2.1 Polaris, the North Star. In Cherokee legend, the dipper’s handle represents hunters pursuing the bear.

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USPS Star Calendar for 30 September-6 October 23 September 2012

Posted by amedalen in October 2012, September 2012.
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1 Oct    Rising less than an hour after sunset, the moon is high in the east mid-evening, with the constellation Aries, the Ram, to its left. Aries’ two brightest stars are magnitude 2.2 Hamal, 4 finger-widths to the moon’s upper left, and magnitude 2.7 Sheratan, which is 2 finger-widths to Hamal’s right.

3 Oct    Look to the west before dawn as magnitude -4.1 Venus passes within 0.15 degrees of magnitude 1.3 Regulus, making it the year’s closest appulse of a planet with a first-magnitude star. Don’t miss this viewing opportunity.

4 Oct    The Pleiades Cluster is 2 finger-widths to the moon’s upper right this morning. After its close approach to Regulus yesterday, Venus begins to retrograde (move westward) and falls away quickly during the coming weeks.

5 Oct    High in the southwest before dawn, magnitude -2.6 Jupiter is 2 finger-widths to the moon’s upper left, and magnitude 1.1 Aldebaran is the same distance to the lower left. Orion is nearly 2 fist-widths to the lower left. The moon is at apogee, 63.53 Earth-radii (405,000 kilometers) away.

6 Oct    Before first light high in the south, Jupiter is less than 4 finger-widths to the waning gibbous moon’s lower right, and Aldebaran is the same distance below Jupiter. Magnitude 0.6 Betelgeuse, Orion’s brightest star, is 1½ fist-widths to the moon’s lower left.

USPS Star Calendar for 31 July-6 August 24 July 2011

Posted by amedalen in August 2011, July 2011.
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1 Aug    Low in the west at dusk, Mercury is 4 finger-widths to the moon’s lower right. Tomorrow Mercury begins retrograde motion to the west and soon disappears into the sun’s glow.

2 Aug    The moon is at perigee, 57.35 Earth-radii or 366,000 kilometers away.

3 Aug    About an hour after sunset, look just above the western horizon to see magnitude 0.9 Saturn 4 finger-widths above the moon and magnitude 1.2 Spica 1.5 fist-widths to the upper left. Less than 20 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

4 Aug    Magnitude 1.2 Spica is only 1 finger-width above the moon tonight.

6 Aug    First-quarter moon at 1108 UT