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
11:14 am
Fri May 24, 2013

Western Slope Skies 5/24/2013

This week, just after sunset, we can see an amazing grouping of  planets in the western sky.  From May 24 until May 29, Venus, Jupiter, and Mercury will fit within a 5 degree circle – less than half the width of your fist held at arm’s length!   On May 26 these planets will be within 2 and one half degrees of each other – only half the apparent distance between the pointer stars of the Big Dipper!    

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Western Slope Skies
5:23 pm
Fri May 10, 2013

Western Slope Skies 5/10/2013

“Hey, can you see the flag in that thing?!”  It’s a question that makes us wince when observing the moon at astronomy outreaches.  The answer is…Maybe if you were aboard NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter… but, all six of the flags are now faded to white, and the first one blew over when the Apollo 11 lunar module blasted off departing the moon.  

From our backyards, the moon, our closest celestial neighbor, is easily observed by the unaided eye  as it moves through its changing phases.  During the next two weeks, the moon will move from new to nearly full.

 

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Western Slope Skies
9:38 am
Fri April 26, 2013

Western Slope Skies 4/26/2013

Saturn…The ringed planet. The sixth planet from the Sun; second largest in the Solar System behind Jupiter; and the one that evokes the most vivid images in our thoughts. It is an unforgettable sight, even in a small telescope.  

From now until early May, Saturn will be the brightest it has been for more than 5 years. It rises in the east as the Sun sets and will be visible all night long.

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Western Slope Skies
10:32 am
Fri April 12, 2013

Western Slope Skies 4/12/2013

Listen to Western Slope Skies, a report on the night sky by the Black Canyon Astronomical Society.  

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Western Slope Skies
1:31 pm
Fri April 5, 2013

Western Slope Skies 4/3/2013

Listen to Western Slope Skies, a report on the heavens from the Black Canyon Astronomical Society.  

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Western Slope Skies
8:08 am
Fri March 15, 2013

March Equinox

March 20th is the March equinox, one of four important days in the year that define the relation between the sun and the Earth.


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Western Slope Skies
8:00 am
Fri March 1, 2013

Comet Pan-STARRS

This could be a spectacular year for comets, ending with one that may be the brightest comet in many years appearing in the last 2-3 months of the year. 


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Western Slope Skies
8:00 am
Fri February 15, 2013

Light Pollution

The term Light Pollution refers to excessive and glaring artificial lighting, especially light that is scattered above the horizon.  This is a very serious problem for astronomers, because it can prevent them from seeing objects in space.

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Western Slope Skies
2:00 pm
Thu January 31, 2013

Planets of February

In our Western skies, three planets are visible with the naked eye or binoculars during February evenings. They are Jupiter, Mars, and Mercury.


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Western Slope Skies
1:06 pm
Mon January 14, 2013

Moon Illusion

On Saturday night, January 26th, a full moon will rise in the east just after sunset.  Look at the full moon when it’s still near the horizon.  Does it appear especially large to you?  Then, look at the moon later this same night, when it’s higher in the sky.  Does it appear smaller?  For most people, the moon looks much larger when on the horizon.  This is the "Moon Illusion."


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