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USPS Star Calendar for 10-16 February 3 February 2013

Posted by amedalen in February 2013.
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10 Feb    New at 720 UT, the moon rises and sets within a few minutes of the sun.

11 Feb    If you have a clear view of the western horizon at dusk, you can catch a glimpse of magnitude -0.9 Mercury 3 finger-widths to the waxing crescent moon’s lower left and magnitude 1.2 Mars 1 finger-width below Mercury. Watch them disappear below the horizon. Setting a little more than an hour after the sun, Mars is followed 15 minutes later by Mercury. The moon sets a half hour later. The equation of time is at the minimum for the year, -14.25 minutes. That means at noon mean solar time the sun has not reached the meridian; it will do so 14 minutes later.

12 Feb    Today is Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday), the day before the season of lent begins.

13 Feb    Look low in the west at nightfall to spot magnitude 2.1 Alpheratz 2 fist-widths to the thin waxing crescent moon’s upper right. Magnitude 2.0 Mira is 2½ fist-widths to the upper left, and magnitude 2.2 Hamal is the same distance above the moon.

14 Feb    Mira, in the constellation Cetus, the Whale, is 2 fist-widths to the moon’s left tonight. To the ancient Greeks, Cetus was a sea monster that Perseus destroyed before it could attack Andromeda. Today is St. Valentine’s Day.

15 Feb    Early this evening, magnitude -2.4 Jupiter is 3 fist-widths to the waxing crescent moon’s upper left high in the west. Magnitude 1.1 Aldebaran is 3 finger-widths to the left or lower left of Jupiter, and Orion is a couple of fist-widths beyond Aldebaran. The moon is 25 percent illuminated.

16 Feb    Mercury reaches its greatest elongation east of the sun, a little over 18 degrees, and sets 1½ hours after the sun.

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USPS Star Calendar for 19-25 February 12 February 2012

Posted by amedalen in February 2012.
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21 Feb    Shrove Tuesday, Mardi Gras

22 Feb    Tonight catch a glimpse of ever-elusive Mercury, which is less than 2 weeks from its greatest elongation, 18 degrees east of the sun, on 5 March. After sunset, you have about an hour to see Mercury less than 3 finger-widths to the moon’s left.

24 Feb    Jupiter, Venus and the waxing crescent moon line up in the west this evening. The moon is closest to the horizon with magnitude -4.2 Venus 1 fist-width to the upper left and magnitude -2.2 Jupiter 1½ fist-widths beyond Venus. Only 5 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

25 Feb    Venus is 1 finger-width to the moon’s lower left this evening.

USPS Star Calendar for 6 to 12 March 27 February 2011

Posted by amedalen in March 2011.
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6 Mar     At evening twilight, the thin crescent moon is 2 finger-widths to the right of magnitude -2.1 Jupiter low in the west. Less than five percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated. The moon is at apogee, nearly 252,898 miles or 63.75 Earth-radii away.

7 Mar     The waxing crescent moon is 1 fist-width above Jupiter tonight.

8 Mar     This evening, look 3 finger-widths to the moon’s upper right to find the navigational star magnitude 2.2 Hamal in the constellation Aries, the Ram. One finger-width below Hamal, you should be able to see magnitude 2.7 Sheratan. Using your binoculars, see if you can spot magnitude 4.8 gamma 1 Arietis. Today is Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday), the day before Lent begins.

10 Mar    The Pleiades Cluster is only 1 finger-width above the moon tonight. Aldebaran, the brightest star in the constellation Taurus, the Bull, is 1 fist-width to the upper left. Orion lies beyond Taurus. Use your binoculars. About one-fourth of the moon’s surface is illuminated. Today is Ash Wednesday.

11 Mar    Aldebaran is only 3 finger-widths to the moon’s lower left. The Pleiades Cluster is 1 fist-width to the lower right. About one-third of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

12 Mar    The bright star 2 fist-widths to the right or upper right of the moon is magnitude 0.2 Capella. The navigational star magnitude 1.8 Elnath is 2 finger-widths to the moon’s upper right in line with Capella. Using your binoculars, see if you can find magnitude 3.0 zeta Tauri, 1 finger-width left of the moon. First-quarter moon at 2345 UT

USPS Star Calendar for 14 to 20 February 7 February 2010

Posted by amedalen in February 2010.
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14 Feb
New moon
at 0252 UT, 2152 EST (yesterday)

16 Feb
Today marks Shrove Tuesday, also known as Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday, the last day of feasting before Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, Pancakes anybody?

17 Feb
Ash Wednesday

20 Feb
The moon is high in the south for the next few evenings. Tonight it’s 4 finger-widths below the Pleiades, with Aldebaran to its upper left and Orion beyond.