Black Canyon Astronomical Society

WESTERN SLOPE SKIES
7:00 am
Fri December 19, 2014

Western Slope Skies - Women In Astronomy

This is an ongoing series on Women in Astronomy.  Today, we meet three modern women in astronomy, Jocelyn Bell Burnell, Andrea Ghez, and Carolyn Porco.

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WESTERN SLOPE SKIES
7:00 am
Fri October 10, 2014

Western Slope Skies - 10/10/14

October 23 Solar Eclipse

On October 8 we were treated to a total eclipse of the moon, and on October 23 North American sky-watchers can experience a partial solar eclipse. 

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WESTERN SLOPE SKIES
7:00 am
Fri September 12, 2014

Western Slope Skies - 9/12/14

Binary Stars

Next time you see the Big Dipper out of the corner of your eye, take a look at the star in the middle of the handle. If you have decent eyesight, you may see not one, but two stars: a brighter star known as Mizar, and a fainter star called Alcor. 

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WESTERN SLOPE SKIES
7:00 am
Fri August 15, 2014

Western Slope Skies - 8/15/14

Planetary Conjunctions

Late August will be a great time for planet watching, in the morning and the evening. If you are up early on Monday, August 18, you will be rewarded by a spectacular pre-dawn sight. 

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WESTERN SLOPE SKIES
10:08 am
Tue June 10, 2014

Western Slope Skies - 6/6/14

Light Pollution

Those of us that live on the Western Slope are no stranger to spectacular scenery. The jagged peaks, chiseled canyons, and expansive plateaus of western Colorado are treasures that we all cherish. But one of our most spectacular natural wonders may also be one of our least appreciated: our incredibly dark and pristine night skies.

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WESTERN SLOPE SKIES
12:51 pm
Fri May 23, 2014

Western Slope Skies - 5/23/14

Mercury in Evening Twilight
 

Have you ever seen the planet Mercury? When conditions are near optimal, Mercury is easy to see. However, optimal conditions are rare, and many casual observers search for Mercury without success. This is because of the planet’s proximity to the sun.  The safe time to view Mercury is after sunset or before sunrise, depending upon the Mercury's orbit.

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WESTERN SLOPE SKIES
7:00 am
Fri May 9, 2014

Western Slope Skies - 5/9/14

Saturn at Opposition

Last month on the program we learned that only the five superior planets can be at opposition. The fast movement of our planet’s orbit brings us between those five planets and the sun every year. In April, Mars was at opposition. This month, on Saturday, May 10th, its Saturn’s turn to shine!

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WESTERN SLOPE SKIES
7:00 am
Fri April 11, 2014

Western Slope Skies - 4/11/14

April’s Total Lunar Eclipse

Late on the evening of April 14th and into the early morning hours of April 15th, skygazers throughout the America’s and much of the Pacific region will be treated to a total lunar eclipse. This eclipse will be the first of two for the year. By the time the sun, earth and moon line up it will have been 857 days or 28 months since we last saw our moon completely in the shadow of our planet.

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WESTERN SLOPE SKIES
7:00 am
Fri March 14, 2014

Western Slope Skies - 3/14/14

This is a continuing series on Women in Astronomy.  Today, we meet Margaret Burbidge.

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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
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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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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