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USPS Star Calendar for 3-9 February 27 January 2013

Posted by amedalen in February 2013.
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3 Feb    The last-quarter moon is 2 finger-widths to Saturn’s lower left in the pre-dawn sky.

4 Feb    Scorpius, the Scorpion, is to the lower left of the waning crescent moon low in the south before dawn.

5 Feb    Magnitude 1.1 Antares, the heart of the Scorpion, is 3 finger-widths to the moon’s lower left just before dawn. About one-third of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

6 Feb    The waning crescent moon rises 3 hours before the sun low in the southeast before dawn. Only 20 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated

7 Feb    Look north at dusk to spot the Big Dipper just above the horizon with its handle to the lower left of the bowl. The dipper rotates counter-clockwise and is a little higher with the handle straight down three hours after sunset. By midnight, the dipper has rotated even more and is high in the northeast. The moon is at perigee, 57.28 earth radii or 365,000 kilometers away.

8 Feb    With the moon setting 1½ hours before the sun, tonight is perfect for stargazing. Starting with Orion high in the south, follow a line through the three belt stars 2 fist-widths to the lower left to the Dog Star, magnitude -1.59 Sirius, in the constellation Canis Major.

USPS Star Calendar for 6-12 January 30 December 2012

Posted by amedalen in January 2013.
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6 Jan    Before first light, look for the waning crescent moon between Saturn, 3 finger-widths to the lower left, and Spica, 1 fist-width to the upper right.

7 Jan    Before dawn, the moon hangs out in the constellation Libra, the Scales. Using binoculars, look for the triangle of stars that make up Libra’s body, the brightest of which is magnitude 2.7 Zubeneschamali (Northern Claw), 1 fist-width to the moon’s upper left. Magnitude 3.4 Brachium (sigma Librae) is 3 finger-widths to the lower right, and magnitude 2.9 Zubenelgenubi (Southern Claw) is 2 finger-widths to the upper right, midway between the moon and Saturn.  

8 Jan    Rising 3½ hours before the sun, the waning crescent moon is low in the southeast before first light in the head of the Scorpion, Scorpius. The moon is midway between Saturn, 2 fist-widths to the upper right, and Venus, to the lower left near the horizon. Venus rises a little more than an hour before the sun, so you will need to look quickly before it fades from view.

10 Jan    Rising a little more than an hour before the sun, Venus and the moon are low in the east at first light and fade in the glow of the rising sun. Only 5 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated. The moon is at perigee, 56.45 earth-radii or 360,000 kilometers away.

11 Jan    New at 1944 UT, the moon rises and sets within a few minutes of the sun.

USPS Stare Calendar for 16-22 September 9 September 2012

Posted by amedalen in September 2012.
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16 Sep    Tonight the moon rises and sets just before the sun does. New moon at 0211 UT

17 Sep    Jupiter is high in the south before dawn, and Orion is just below.

19 Sep    The moon, which sets about 2 hours after the sun, is visible low in the southwest at dusk. Magnitude 1.2 Mars is 1 finger-width to the right. The moon is at perigee, 57.35 Earth-radii (366,000 kilometers) away.

20 Sep    Tonight the moon is in the head of Scorpius, with Mars 1½ fist-widths to the lower right and magnitude 1.1 Antares 3 finger-widths to the lower left. Compare the color of Mars and Antares, the “rival of Mars.” The waxing crescent moon is 20 percent illuminated.

22 Sep    The moon is above the dome of Sagittarius. The autumnal equinox occurs at 1449 UT as the sun crosses the celestial equator into the southern hemisphere.

USPS Star Calendar for 12-18 August 5 August 2012

Posted by amedalen in August 2012.
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12 Aug    In the east before dawn, the moon is between magnitude -2.2 Jupiter, 4 finger-widths to the upper right, and magnitude -4.3 Venus, 1½ fist-widths to the lower left. Orion is to the lower right, and the bright star 2½ fist-widths to the upper left is magnitude 0.2 Capella. The dimmer star between them is magnitude 1.8 Elnath.

13 Aug    Low in the east before dawn, the moon is less than 2 finger-widths to Venus’ upper right. Only 20 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated. Look southwest at dusk to see Saturn, Mars and Spica line up within 2 finger-widths of one another. Magnitude 0.2 Saturn is on the top, magnitude 1.1 Mars is in the middle, and magnitude 1.2 Spica is on the bottom.

14 Aug    Although Saturn, Mars and Spica are still in line tonight, Mars has moved to the left and will continue to do so, leaving Saturn and Spica behind.

15 Aug    Along the eastern horizon an hour before sunrise, magnitude 0.2 Mercury is 4 fist-widths to the lower left of the thin waning crescent moon. Look quickly because the ever-elusive Mercury fades from view as the sky brightens.

16 Aug    Mercury reaches its greatest elongation west, 18.7 degrees from the sun. Mercury rises 1½ hours before the sun and is visible before sunrise with a clear view of the eastern horizon. Rising a half hour after Mercury, the thin waning crescent is 3 finger-widths below.

17 Aug    Tonight’s new moon is perfect for stargazing. With binoculars, find Mars, Saturn and Spica near the western horizon at dusk. Moving left (south) to see Scorpius and Sagittarius also hugging the horizon. Continue moving left until you are looking north to the Big Dipper. Follow the dipper’s pointer stars to Cassiopeia, the Lazy W constellation.

18 Aug    Now that you have found Cassiopeia, look 3 fist-widths to the upper right to magnitude 1.3 Deneb, 2 fist-widths above Deneb to magnitude 0.1 Vega, and 3½ fist-widths to Vega’s lower right to magnitude 0.9 Altair. These three stars form the Summer Triangle.

USPS Star Calendar for 22-28 July 15 July 2012

Posted by amedalen in July 2012.
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23 Jul    Low in the west at dusk, magnitude 1.0 Mars is 1 fist-width to the thin waxing crescent moon’s upper left, and magnitude 0.8 Saturn is 1 fist-width beyond Mars. Magnitude 1.2 Spica is 2 finger-widths to Saturn’s lower left. Less than 20 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

24 Jul    Tonight the moon has moved to the east. Mars is 3 finger-widths to the moon’s upper right, and Saturn is 1 fist-width to the upper left.

25 Jul    Spica is 3 finger-widths to the moon’s right, low in the southwest tonight.

27 Jul    The head of the Scorpion, Scorpius, is to the moon’s left this evening.

28 Jul    Magnitude 1.1 Antares, the red heart of Scorpius, is less than 3 finger-widths to the waxing gibbous moon’s lower right tonight. Nearly 75 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

USPS Star Calendar for 27 May-2 June 20 May 2012

Posted by amedalen in June 2012, May 2012.
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27 May    Magnitude 1.3 Regulus is 3 finger-widths above the moon tonight, and Mars is 1½ fist-widths to the moon’s upper left. About one-third of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

28 May    Magnitude 0.5 Mars is less than 4 finger-widths above the waxing crescent moon tonight.

29 May    High in the south after sunset, Mars is 1 fist-width to the moon’s upper right, and Saturn is 3 fist-widths to the moon’s upper left.

30 May    Closer to the moon tonight, Saturn is 1½ fist-widths to its upper left, while Mars is 2½ fist-widths to the moon’s upper right. Nearly two-thirds of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

31 May    In a straight line tonight, magnitude 1.2 Spica is 1 finger-width above the moon and magnitude 0.5 Saturn is 2 finger-widths beyond Spica.

1 Jun    In the southeast early this evening, Saturn and Spica are 1½ fist-widths to the moon’s upper right and Mars is another 4 fist-widths beyond. Scorpius rises far to the lower left.

USPS Star Calendar for 6-12 May 29 April 2012

Posted by amedalen in May 2012.
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6 May    The full moon rises late tonight in the head of the Scorpion, Scorpius. Before dawn tomorrow, they are low in the southwest. The moon is at perigee, 55.97 Earth-radii (357,000 kilometers) away. This is the closest approach for the year. Expect very high tides as perigee occurs only 0.1 hour before the full moon.

8 May    Low in the south at first light, Antares is to the moon’s lower right and Sagittarius is far to the lower left.

9 May    The moon is above the dome of the Teapot constellation, Sagittarius, this morning.

11 May    Just before dawn, look for magnitude 0.9 Altair 2½ fist-widths above the waning gibbous moon. About two-thirds of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

USPS Star Calendar for 11-17 March 4 March 2012

Posted by amedalen in March 2012.
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11 Mar    Venus is less than 2 finger-widths to Jupiter’s lower right tonight. Daylight saving time begins at 0200.

12 Mar    Tonight Venus and Jupiter stand side by side only about 3 degrees, 1½ finger-widths, apart. In the coming days, Venus climbs high, leaving Jupiter behind.

13 Mar    Low in the south before dawn, the moon is in the head of the Scorpion constellation, Scorpius. About two-thirds of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

14 Mar    Venus is 1½ finger-widths to Jupiter’s upper right.

15 Mar    Low in the south before dawn, the moon is just above the dome of the teapot constellation, Sagittarius. Beware the Ides of March, a seer warned Julius Caesar; he was assassinated on this day in 44 BC.

17 Mar    Continuing to climb away from Jupiter, Venus is a little more than 2 finger-widths to the upper right.

USPS Star Calendar for 12-18 February 5 February 2012

Posted by amedalen in February 2012.
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12 Feb    In the southwest before dawn, Spica is 1 finger-width above the moon, and Saturn is 4 finger-widths to the moon’s upper left. A little more than two-thirds of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

14 Feb    The last-quarter moon rises well after midnight.

15 Feb    Low in the south before dawn, the waning crescent moon is 2 finger-widths above reddish Antares, the heart of the Scorpion, Scorpius.

16 Feb    Low in the southeast before dawn, the moon is between Antares, 1 fist-width to the right, and Sagittarius, far to the lower left. About one-third of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

18 Feb    The distance between Venus and Jupiter has shrunk to little more than 2 fist-widths.

USPS Star Calendar for 15-21 January 8 January 2012

Posted by amedalen in January 2012.
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15 Jan    Spica and Saturn are to the moon’s upper left in the southern sky before dawn. Growing closer, Venus and Jupiter are less than 6 fist-widths apart tonight.

16 Jan    The last-quarter moon is high in the south before dawn, with Spica 2 finger-widths to the upper right and Saturn 3 finger-widths to the upper left. The bright star 3½ fist-widths above the moon is magnitude 0.2 Arcturus.

17 Jan    The moon is at perigee, 57.99 Earth-radii, 370,000 kilometers, away.

18 Jan    The thin waning crescent moon is just to the right of the head of the Scorpion constellation, Scorpius, low in the south before first light.

19 Jan    Before dawn, the thin waning crescent moon will be low in the southeast with Antares less than 2 finger-widths to the lower right. Only about 20 percent of the moon is illuminated.

20 Jan    The thin waning crescent moon rises less than 2½ hours before the sun this morning. About 10 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated.