Western Slope Skies

Black Canyon Astronomical Society

Western Slope Skies is produced by members of the Black Canyon Astronomical Society, who take a look at our “local” night sky. Hear it on the Friday morning local newscast (from 8-8:15 AM) and on Wednesday nights at 8 PM during Global Express.

Do you have a question about the night sky or other astronomical topics? Ask it in our comments section below!

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WESTERN SLOPE SKIES
7:30 am
Mon March 3, 2014

Western Slope Skies - 3/3/14

Today we discuss two giant stars that are easily observed right now and relatively close in the sky.  Aldebaran is an orange giant star, while Betelgeuse is a red super giant.

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WESTERN SLOPE SKIES
4:20 pm
Fri February 28, 2014

Western Slope Skies - 2/14/14

This is a continuing series on Women in Astronomy.  Today, we meet Vera Rubin.

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Western Slope Skies
10:42 am
Fri January 31, 2014

Western Slope Skies 1/31/14

When you look at the night sky with the naked eye, everything that you see is in our Milky Way Galaxy.

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Western Slope Skies
8:15 am
Fri January 17, 2014

Western Slope Skies 1/17/14

For this episode of Western Slope Skies from the Black Canyon Astronomical Society, we learn about the planet Jupiter, which can be seen shining bright in the night skies of January.

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Western Slope Skies
10:42 am
Fri January 3, 2014

Western Slope Skies 1/3/14

For the latest episode of Western Slope Skies from the Black Canyon Astronomical Society, we'll learn about the bright stars of winter. 

Gaze to the east at about 8 PM on a clear January evening and enjoy the bright and colorful stars of winter.  A star chart, planisphere, or smart-phone App may help you navigate. 

The centerpiece of our wintery celestial display is the constellation Orion, now well above the southeastern horizon. 

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Western Slope Skies
11:17 am
Fri December 20, 2013

Western Slope Skies 12/20/13

As the holidays approach, the days shorten, bringing with them our glorious Western Slope night skies.  Joining us to celebrate the season is a brilliant cluster of stars, called the Pleiades, or Seven Sisters. 

Rising on our eastern horizon, the Pleiades first appears as a cloud-like thumbprint.  As your eyes adapt to the darkness, you’ll be able to pick out point-like stars, as many as six or seven. 

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Western Slope Skies
8:15 am
Fri December 6, 2013

Western Slope Skies 12/6/13

Look low in southwest as the sky darkens in early December. That brilliant “evening star” is actually not a star, but the planet Venus. 

Venus is at its brightest now, in part because it’s relatively close by, only about 35 million miles from Earth. Venus is so very bright that it can cast shadows, and it’s sometimes confused with airplane landing lights, or even reported as a UFO. 

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Western Slope Skies
9:00 am
Fri November 22, 2013

Western Slope Skies 11/22/13

For this episode of Western Slope Skies, a look at the moons of Jupiter, and the two Galileos - the man and the machine.

In 1610, Galileo Galilei became the first person to observe another planet, Jupiter, and its 4 largest moons, Callisto, Europa, Ganymede, and Io.   For the next 380 years, most scientists believed that those moons were similar to our Moon, that is, rocky spheres without activity or atmosphere.   

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Western Slope Skies
12:00 am
Fri November 8, 2013

Western Slope Skies 11/8/13

Comet ISON has been in the news for more than a year now. Discovered in September 2012, the comet should now be visible with binoculars or a small telescope.

ISON is a ‘sun grazer’ comet, as it will pass only 700,000 miles from the sun on November 28th.  This distance is less than the sun’s diameter!

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Western Slope Skies
12:47 pm
Fri October 25, 2013

Western Slope Skies 10/25/13

Did you know that the Big Dipper is NOT a constellation?  It’s actually an asterism - a pattern of stars in the sky, much like a pattern of clouds.  

While there are many asterisms that are commonly known, none of them are constellations.  Other fall and winter asterisms include the Little Dipper, the Winter Hexagon, and the Great Square of Pegasus.

The Big Dipper is part of the constellation, Ursa Major, the Great Bear.  What most people see as the handle of the Big Dipper is the tail of the bear, while the bowl of the dipper is part of the body of the bear. 

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