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USPS Star Calendar for 30 November-6 December 23 November 2014

Posted by amedalen in December 2014, November 2014.
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30 Nov    High in the southeast at dusk, the waxing gibbous moon is 2 fist-widths above a second-magnitude star, magnitude 2.2 Deneb Kaitos. Can you see the fourth-magnitude star midway between them? You may need binoculars to make out magnitude 3.8 iota Ceti.

2 Dec    Tonight look for magnitude 2.0 Mira, 1½ fist-widths below the moon.

3 Dec    The moon is surrounded by two second-magnitude and two third-magnitude stars this evening. The brightest, magnitude 2.0 Mira is 1½ fist-widths to the lower right.  Next in brightness, magnitude 2.2 Hamal is about the same distance to the upper left. Two finger-widths to Hamal’s right is magnitude 2.7 Sheratan. Finally, magnitude 2.8 Menkar is below and slightly right of the moon. You will need binoculars to get the most out of this viewing opportunity.

4 Dec    The Pleiades Cluster is 1 fist-width to the moon’s left or upper left this evening. Aldebaran is 1½ fist-widths to the lower left. The moon is more than 90 percent illuminated.

5 Dec    The nearly full moon rises in the middle of the constellation Taurus, the Bull, shortly before sunset. The brightest star, Aldebaran, is 1 finger-width to the moon’s lower left at dusk. Passing within less than 1 degree, the moon grows closer to Aldebaran as the evening passes. At midnight, the pair stands high in the south with Aldebaran to the moon’s lower right.

6 Dec    By mid-evening the full moon is high in the east surrounded by several first-magnitude stars. Aldebaran is 1 fist-width to the upper right. Capella is nearly 3 fist-widths to the upper left. Far below Capella is Pollux, the brighter of the Gemini Twins. Orion is to the lower right of the moon with its two first-magnitude stars, Betelgeuse 1 fist-width to the moon’s lower right, and Rigel at the opposite corner, beyond the belt.

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USPS Star Calendar for 5-11 January 29 December 2013

Posted by amedalen in January 2014.
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5 Jan    Jupiter makes its closest approach to Earth at opposition. Jupiter’s face is fully illuminated by the sun, making this the best time to view the planet and its moons. With a good pair of binoculars, you should be able to see Jupiter’s four largest moons, which appear as bright dots on either side of the planet. At magnitude –2.7, Jupiter outshines everything else in the area.  As evening passes, Jupiter climbs the eastern sky and is high in the southeast at midnight.

6 Jan    High in the south at dusk, the moon sets seven hours after the sun. About 25 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

8 Jan    Rising at midday, the first-quarter moon is high in the south at dusk and sets after midnight.

10 Jan    Two-thirds of the moon’s surface is illuminated. High in the southeast at dusk, the moon is above the constellation Taurus the Bull. Orion, the Mighty Hunter, lies on its side below Taurus.

11 Jan    High in the southeast in the early evening, the Seven Sisters (Pleiades Cluster) are less than 1 fist-width above or to the upper right of the moon, and magnitude 1.1 Aldebaran is 2 finger-widths below or to the lower left. Orion lies beyond Aldebaran. Venus is at inferior conjunction, passing between Earth and the sun. Venus will soon be visible in the pre-dawn sky.

USPS Star Calendar for 24 to 30 October 17 October 2010

Posted by amedalen in October 2010.
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24 Oct
The moon rises less than an hour after sunset. The Pleiades Cluster is less than 2 finger-widths to its left, and magnitude 1.1 Aldebaran, the eye of Taurus the Bull, is 1½ fist-widths to the lower left. The bright star 3 fist-widths beyond the Pleiades is magnitude 0.2 Capella. Use binoculars.

25 Oct
Before dawn, the Pleiades Cluster is less than a half finger-width from the moon high in the west. Tonight, magnitude 1.1 Aldebaran is 3 finger-widths to the moon’s lower right, the Pleiades Cluster is 4 finger-widths to the upper right, and magnitude 0.2 Capella is 2 fist-widths to the upper left. Use binoculars.

26 Oct
Look high in the west this morning to see Aldebaran 4 finger-widths to the moon’s lower left. Orion is farther left.

27 Oct
Rising just before midnight, the moon and Orion, 1 to 2 fist-widths to the right, are followed closely by the Gemini Twins. High in the south at first light, Orion is to the moon’s lower right and the Twins are to its upper left. The bright star nearly 4 fist-widths below the moon is magnitude -1.6 Sirius, the Dog Star.

28 Oct
The Gemini Twins rise with the moon late tonight.

29 Oct
At inferior conjunction with the sun, Venus passes between the sun and Earth and moves from the evening sky into the morning sky.

30 Oct
Magnitude 0.5 Procyon is 1½ fist-widths to the moon’s lower right high in the south at sunrise. The Gemini Twins are the same distance to the moon’s upper right, and magnitude 1.3 Regulus is 2 fist-widths to the lower left. Last-quarter moon at 1246 UT