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USPS Star Calendar for 21-27 December 14 December 2014

Posted by amedalen in December 2014.
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21 Dec    The winter solstice marks the first day of winter in the Northern Hemisphere.

23 Dec    Only two days past new, the thin waxing crescent moon is low in the west at dusk.

24 Dec    Mars stands to the left of the moon early this evening. They set less than 3½ hours after the sun. Altair is 2½ fist-widths to the moon’s upper right. The moon is at perigee, 57.19 Earth-radii (365,000 kilometers) away.

25 Dec    Mars is 1 fist-width to the moon’s lower right this evening. The equation of time is zero.

26 Dec    The moon spends the last week of the year crossing the evening sky between Mars and Jupiter. Tonight Mars is 2½ fist-widths to the moon’s lower right. Jupiter doesn’t even rise in the west until 20 minutes after Mars sets.

USPS Star Calendar for 15-21 December 8 December 2013

Posted by amedalen in December 2013.
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15 Dec    Aldebaran is 1 finger-width below the moon tonight.

17 Dec    The last full moon of the year rises a half-hour after sunset, followed less than an hour later by Jupiter to the lower left. Orion is to the right.

18 Dec    This evening, Jupiter and the moon rise side by side an hour and a half after sunset.

19 Dec    Jupiter stands directly above the moon in the early evening. Magnitude 0.5 Procyon is 1 fist-width to the moon’s lower right. The moon is at apogee, 63.70 Earth-radii (406,000 kilometers) away.

21 Dec    Winter arrives in the Northern Hemisphere at 1711 UT as the sun reaches its farthest point south of the celestial equator.

USPS Star Calendar for 16-22 December 9 December 2012

Posted by amedalen in December 2012.
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16 Dec    In the southwest at dusk, the thin waxing crescent moon is about 10 percent illuminated.

18 Dec    High in the southwest early tonight, magnitude 1.3 Deneb in the constellation Cygnus, the Swan, is more than 5 fist-widths to the moon’s upper right. In one story, Orpheus, who sang and played his lyre so beautifully that wild animals and trees came to hear him, was transformed into a Swan after his death and placed next to his lyre, Lyra.

20 Dec    The Great Square of Pegasus is above the first-quarter moon at dusk.

21 Dec    High in the south tonight, the moon is surrounded by many lower-magnitude stars. About 3 hours after sunset, magnitude 2.1 Alpheratz is a little more than 2 fist-widths to the moon’s upper right. Magnitude 2.0 Mira is 2 fist-widths to the moon’s lower left. Magnitude 2.2 Deneb Kaitos is 3 fist-widths below the moon, and magnitude 2.2 Hamal is 1½ fist-widths to the moon’s upper left. Today marks the first day of winter, the winter solstice, as the sun reaches its farthest distance below the celestial equator. This is the last day of the 13th baktun in the Long Count of the Mayan Calendar. The official end is 1111 UT.

22 Dec    Today is the first day of the 14th baktun in the Long Count of the Mayan Calendar.

USPS Star Calendar for 18-24 December 11 December 2011

Posted by amedalen in December 2011.
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18 Dec    High in the south at dawn, Mars is nearly 2 fist-widths to the moon’s upper right, while magnitude 1.2 Spica is 2 fist-widths to the lower left. Magnitude 0.7 Saturn is less than 3 finger-widths to the left of noticeably dimmer Spica. First-quarter moon at 0048 UT (1948 EST yesterday)

19 Dec    In the south before dawn, Spica is 3 finger-widths left of the moon and Saturn is the same distance beyond Spica. With your binoculars, see if you can tell a difference in color between Spica and Saturn. Saturn should seem slightly yellow or orange compared to white Spica.

20 Dec    Saturn and Spica are 3-4 finger-widths above the moon this morning.

22 Dec    Get out your binoculars early this morning and try to spot the ever elusive Mercury as it reaches its greatest elongation west 21.8 degrees from the sun at 2200 EST tonight. Rising more than an hour before first light, Mercury is 4 finger-widths to the moon’s lower left before dawn. Less than 5 percent of the moon’s surface is illuminated. The moon is at perigee, 57.2 Earth-radii, or 365,000 kilometers, away. The winter solstice occurs at 0530 UT.

24 Dec    New moon at 1806 UT

USPS Star Calendar for 19 to 25 December 12 December 2010

Posted by amedalen in December 2010.
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21   The winter solstice occurs at 2338 UT as the sun reaches its farthest point south. Today marks the shortest day and longest night of the year. This morning, a total lunar eclipse is visible across North America and most of the eastern Pacific, including Hawaii. The eclipse begins at 0632 UT when the umbra first touches the moon. Totality begins at 0740 UT and lasts until 0854 UT. The last bit of shadow leaves the moon at 1002 UT. Unlike solar eclipses, lunar eclipses are completely safe to watch. Full Cold moon at 0813 UT

Total Lunar Eclipse

PST 

(-8)

MST 

(-7)

CST 

(-6)

EST 

(-5)

First Umbra 22:32 (20th) 23:32 (20th) 00:32 01:32
Beginning of Totality 23:40 (20th) 00:40 01:40 02:40
Mid-Eclipse 00:17 01:17 02:17 03:17
End of Totality 00:54 01:54 02:54 03:54
Last Umbra 02:02 03:02 04:02 05:02

22   Late tonight, you’ll find the moon between the Gemini Twins to the upper left and magnitude 0.5 Procyon to the lower right. Orion is far to the upper right, and the Big Dipper is far to the left.

23   Late this evening, the moon is midway between magnitude 0.5 Procyon, nearly 2 fist-widths to the upper right, and magnitude 1.3 Regulus, the same distance to the lower left. The Gemini Twins are 2 fist-widths above the moon.

24   The moon and Regulus rise together tonight and are high in the southwest by dawn.

25   The moon is at perigee, 57.83 Earth-radii away.