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
8:15 am
Fri October 11, 2013

Western Slope Skies 10/11/13

This is the third in a series on Women in Astronomy.  Today, we meet Caroline Herschel.

Caroline Herschel was born in Hanover, Germany in 1750.  Her early life was a conflict between her father, who wanted her to be educated in music and science, and her mother, who thought that household chores were the appropriate life for a woman.

In 1772, Caroline moved to England and joined her brother, William, who was already working in astronomy and music.  Over time, they gradually left music and became full-time astronomers.

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Western Slope Skies
9:39 am
Fri September 27, 2013

Western Slope Skies 9/27/13

Early fall nights can be crisp, but it’s rewarding to go out after dark on these clear, moonless evenings to see some stars and constellations in our Western Slope skies.   

Rising in the northeast just after dark, you will find a group of stars that looks like a “W” on its side.  These stars are part of the constellation Cassiopeia, which commemorates a queen in Greek mythology.  

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Western Slope Skies
8:15 am
Fri September 13, 2013

Western Slope Skies 9/13/13

The sun rises in the east each day in our western slope skies and appears to shine with constant brightness. However, we shouldn’t take the sun for granted, because the sun’s energy sustains most life on Earth.  And, in this age of widespread, complex technology, the sun can impact our daily lives. 

The sun, in fact, is not constant, and we need to pay attention to our active, local star.  

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Western Slope Skies
10:05 am
Fri August 30, 2013

Western Slope Skies 8/30/13

Just about any clear night provides an invitation to go outside and see what’s up. Some nights, however, might offer a special attraction: a meteor shower; a conjunction between the Moon and a bright star or planet; or even a lunar eclipse. If you are a beginner stargazer you can maximize your sky watching efforts by taking a few simple steps.

Start with a star chart, and/or a Planisphere or a star-charting app that runs on a smart phone, tablet, or PC.  These are valuable tools in learning the night sky, displaying any number of sky objects for any hour of the night.

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Western Slope Skies
10:16 am
Fri August 16, 2013

Western Slope Skies 8/16/13

As August began, all of the bright planets were visible in our western slope skies. Since all of our solar system planets orbit the sun, the visible planets change from night to night. 

As of today’s program, we have already lost Mercury from view for the rest of this month. It was visible in the early dawn for the first two weeks of the month. However, we still have Venus shining low on the evening horizon. Saturn will end the month just a little higher than Venus. Jupiter rises well after midnight, followed by Mars even later.

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Western Slope Skies
9:08 am
Fri August 2, 2013

Western Slope Skies 8/2/2013

The Perseid meteor shower sprinkles the night sky with shooting stars in August.

The meteors are bits of icy and rocky debris left behind by the Comet Swift-Tuttle, which was discovered in 1862. As Earth flies through the comet’s path, some bits of comet dust slam into the atmosphere at tens of thousands of miles per hour. They quickly vaporize, creating bright but brief streaks of light in the night sky.

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Western Slope Skies
8:53 am
Fri July 19, 2013

Western Slope Skies 7/19/13

This is the second in a series on Women in Astronomy. 

In the early 1900s, Henrietta Swan Leavitt discovered a characteristic of certain variable stars that is still used today to measure astronomical distance. 

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Western Slope Skies
1:22 pm
Sat July 6, 2013

Western Slope Skies 7/5/2013

While there are always objects of interest to see in the night sky throughout the year, the summer sky is unique in that it offers us a view into the very center of the Milky Way, our home galaxy.

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Western Slope Skies
8:15 am
Fri June 21, 2013

Western Slope Skies 6/21/13

This is the first in a series of Western Slope Skies episodes about Women in Astronomy.  We hope that, in some manner, these inspire our young female listeners to become involved in astronomy.

On June 16, 1963, the Russians launched Vostok 6.  The lone astronaut on board was Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman in space.  She was in space for 48 orbits over three days.  In her single mission, she logged more time in space than all the American astronauts who had been in space to that date combined.

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Western Slope Skies
8:00 am
Fri June 7, 2013

Western Slope Skies 6/7/2013

Have you ever attended a night sky session and heard people talk about Messier 13 or Messier 6?  Today we discuss the man whose list is a legacy that still excites astronomers over 200 years later. 

Charles Messier was born in France on June 26, 1730.  He became interested in astronomy at a young age.  In 1751, the French Navy hired Messier as an assistant astronomer in Paris. 

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