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USPS Star Calendar for 21-27 October 14 October 2012

Posted by amedalen in October 2012.
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21 Oct    At evening twilight, magnitude 0.9 Altair, in the Summer Triangle, is 2½ fist-widths above the waxing gibbous moon low in the south. The triangle’s other stars are magnitude 0.1 Vega, 3 fist-widths to Altair’s upper right, and magnitude 1.3 Deneb, 2 fist-widths to Vega’s upper left or nearly overhead.

22 Oct    In the south at sunset, magnitude 0.9 Altair—in the constellation Aquila, the Eagle—is 2½ fist-widths to the first-quarter moon’s upper right. In Greek mythology, the eagle Aquila carried Zeus’ thunderbolts.

23 Oct    High in the south at sunset, the waxing crescent moon lies between two third-magnitude stars, so get out your binoculars. Magnitude 3.1 Sadalsuud in Aquarius, the Water Bearer, is 2 finger-widths above the moon, and magnitude 3.0 Deneb Algedi—in the constellation Capricornus, the Sea Goat—is little more than 3 finger-widths below the moon.

25 Oct    Saturn, in conjunction with the sun, passes behind it.

26 Oct    Mercury reaches its greatest elongation east, 24.1 degrees from the sun. Look quickly at dusk to spy Mercury before it slips below the western horizon.

27 Oct    Rising less than an hour before sunset, the nearly full moon is high in the east as the stars appear. Directly above the moon, the Great Square of Pegasus includes three stars from the constellation Pegasus and one borrowed from neighboring Andromeda. The nearest star of the square is magnitude 2.9 Algenib, 1 fist-width above the moon. Magnitude 2.6 Markab is 1½ fist-widths to the upper right, and magnitude 2.6 Scheat is 1½ fist-widths to the upper left. Andromeda’s magnitude 2.1 Alpheratz, 1½ fist-widths to the lower left, completes the square.

USPS Star Calendar for 27 November-3 December 20 November 2011

Posted by amedalen in December 2011, November 2011.
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27 Nov    Tonight Venus is nearly 1 fist-width to the moon’s lower right.

28 Nov    Altair is 2.5 fist-widths to the moon’s upper right low in the west at dusk. The moon sets less than 2 hours after the sun.

30 Nov    Less than one-third of the moon’s surface is illuminated, so it shouldn’t outshine the dimmer stars nearby. Get your binoculars and look for magnitude 3.1 Sadalsuud 2 finger-widths above the moon and magnitude 3.0 Deneb Algedi 3 finger-widths to the lower left. You should also be able to spot several dimmer fourth and fifth magnitude stars within 2 or 3 finger-widths of the moon.

2 Dec    The bright star 3 fist-widths below the moon tonight is magnitude 1.3 Fomalhaut. First-quarter moon at 0952 UT

3 Dec    Magnitude 2.1 Alpheratz is 2.5 fist-widths above or to the upper left of the moon tonight.

USPS Star Calendar for 7 to 13 November 31 October 2010

Posted by amedalen in November 2010.
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7 Nov
Look low in the west at dusk to see the moon between magnitude 1.4 Mars, 1 finger-width to the upper right, and magnitude 1.1 Antares, less than 1 finger-width to the lower left. But look quickly, because they set only an hour after the sun. Compare the color of Mars and its rival, Antares, the heart of the Scorpion. Daylight saving time ends this morning. Use binoculars.

9 Nov
The waxing crescent moon is just above the dome of the Teapot constellation, Sagittarius.

10 Nov
In the eastern sky, magnitude -4.4 Venus is high enough to be easily visible before sunrise. Magnitude 1.2 Spica is 2 finger-widths to its upper right. Use binoculars.

13 Nov
Look high in the south at dusk to spot magnitude 3.1 Sadalsuud, 2 to 3 finger-widths to the moon’s upper right. Use binoculars to find magnitude 4.8 xi Aquarii midway between them. Then look 3 finger-widths below the moon to see magnitude 3.0 Deneb Algedi. First-quarter moon at 1639 UT. Use binoculars.