SHORT FEATURES

WESTERN SLOPE SKIES
12:59 pm
Fri June 19, 2015

Western Slope Skies: Venus-Jupiter Conjunction

“Star light, star bright, the first star I see tonight…” The opening lines of the famous nursery rhyme are a poetic, but potentially misleading, tribute to the magic of sunset and twilight. Often the first “star” you see at nightfall isn’t a star at all, but rather a planet! In fact, right now the two brightest objects in the night sky after the Moon are both planets: Venus and Jupiter. These two planets will be putting on a dazzling performance over the next few weeks.

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WESTERN SLOPE SKIES
7:00 am
Fri June 5, 2015

Western Slope Skies: Astronomy at Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

Spring is quickly shifting into summer. For us at Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, this means that the busiest visitation days of the year are just around the corner. Folks from all over the world will soon fill the visitor center, planning adventures into the canyon and asking about park wildlife. Rangers will begin presenting geology walks along the rim and talks out at Chasm View. It’s an exciting time of year in the park.

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WESTERN SLOPE SKIES
7:00 am
Fri May 22, 2015

Western Slope Skies: Women in Astronomy

Women in Astronomy – Sydney Wolff

This is a continuing series on Women in Astronomy.  Today we meet Sidney Wolff.

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WESTERN SLOPE SKIES
10:46 am
Fri May 8, 2015

Western Slope Skies: Star Formation

Our closest star, the Sun, is a middle-aged star.  This is good for us, but what exactly does ‘middle-aged star’ mean? 

Throughout their lives, stars are in a battle between gravity trying to collapse the star and pressure of the internal nuclear reaction trying to expand the star.

Make a note… It may take time, but gravity always wins!! 

Star formation begins with a massive cloud of dust and gasses.  The large majority of the cloud is hydrogen. 

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WESTERN SLOPE SKIES
7:00 am
Fri April 24, 2015

Western Slope Skies: Seeing Double in Perseus

You may know the Greek myth of Perseus, a young hero who slew the petrifying Medusa and the sea monster Cetus, in order to rescue the beautiful Andromeda from her cruel mother Cassiopeia.  The ancient Greeks saw fit to immortalize the story in the sky, by tracing constellations resembling these characters. We recognize these constellations today-- in particular, Andromeda with its legendary naked-eye galaxy M31, our closest spiral galactic neighbor.

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WESTERN SLOPE SKIES
7:00 am
Fri April 10, 2015

Western Slope Skies - Star Light, Planet Bright

The Pleiades
Credit Hubble Space Telescope - NASA

The winter evening sky was dominated by two exceptionally bright “stars” that are actually planets — resplendent Venus, nearest of planetary neighbors, in the west, and regal Jupiter, largest of the planets, in the east. As we enter spring, Venus and Jupiter remain celestial highlights, and will treat us to a special double-feature in mid-April — each planet will be very close to a prominent open star cluster.

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WESTERN SLOPE SKIES
7:00 am
Fri March 27, 2015

Western Slope Skies - Lunar Eclipse at Dawn

If you rise early on Saturday, April 4 you will be treated to an unusual event:  the third of four total lunar eclipses occurring within a period of just two years.  This has been called a lunar eclipse tetrad. 

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WESTERN SLOPE SKIES
7:00 am
Fri March 13, 2015

Western Slope Skies - Ursa Major

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, near Montrose, CO, is an excellent place to observe night skies free from light pollution. When it comes to constellations, one of the most famous is Ursa Major, meaning “The Big Bear,” which includes “The Big Dipper.”

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WESTERN SLOPE SKIES
10:44 am
Fri February 27, 2015

Western Slope Skies - Solar System Exploration in 2015

2015 is a banner year for solar system exploration.  Although the European Venus Express Mission and NASA’s Messenger Mission to Mercury are ending, other missions will be gearing up in 2015.  NASA’s New Horizons probe will fly by Pluto in July, and in March, another NASA probe, called Dawn, will enter orbit around Ceres, the l

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StoryCorps
1:36 am
Fri February 27, 2015

Obama To Ambitious Teen: 'You've Got This Strength Inside Yourself'

President Barack Obama participates in a "My Brother's Keeper" StoryCorps interview with Noah McQueen in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on Feb. 20.
Chuck Kennedy The White House

Originally published on Mon May 11, 2015 9:26 am

Noah McQueen is part of "My Brother's Keeper," a White House program aimed at young men of color.

His teen years have been rough, and include several arrests and a short period of incarceration. But last week, he was at the White House. The 18-year-old sat down for a StoryCorps interview with President Obama, who wanted to know more about Noah's life.

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WESTERN SLOPE SKIES
7:00 am
Fri February 13, 2015

Western Slope Skies - Venus Meets Mars and the Moon

Venus, Mars, and a thin crescent Moon will create a stunning sight in our early evening sky on February 20.  If skies are clear, find an open spot with an unobstructed horizon and look to the west between 6:15 and 7:00 p.m.   At first you may see brilliant Venus next to a thin, crescent Moon.  As twilight fades, fainter Mars will appear between Venus and the Moon.  Use binoculars for a truly amazing view!        

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WESTERN SLOPE SKIES
7:00 am
Fri January 30, 2015

Western Slope Skies - The Dance of the Galilean Moons

As twilight ends this winter, look to the east. You may see a very bright “star” that does not twinkle. This is Jupiter, the largest planet of the Solar System, eleven times the diameter of the Earth.

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WESTERN SLOPE SKIES
7:00 am
Fri January 16, 2015

Western Slope Skies - The Color of Stars

For astronomers, it’s not all black and white…

At first glance, our night skies can appear as a dark canvas illuminated with points of mono-hued light.  But, as your eyes adapt, and on closer inspection, one can pick out stars with colors that are blue, white, gold, and reddish orange.

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StoryCorps
9:57 am
Mon January 5, 2015

Out Of Tragedy, An Unexpected Connection Is Made

Megiddëh Goldston (left) with Heidi Hameed (right) and her husband, Raphael, at StoryCorps in Colorado Springs, Colo. Raphael holds photos of his son, Ish — short for Ishaq — who was killed in July when he was struck by a car driven by Megiddëh's sister.
StoryCorps

Originally published on Fri January 2, 2015 8:54 am

Six months ago, Raphael Hameed was walking with his 5-year-old son, Ish, in Colorado Springs, Colo., when they were hit by a speeding car.

Raphael was seriously injured. Ish, his only child, was killed. And while the driver is awaiting trial for vehicular homicide, her sister, Megiddëh Goldston, has formed a bond with the Hameed family. They connected after the accident, and Megiddëh visits Raphael and his wife, Heidi, to help with their day-to-day life.

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WESTERN SLOPE SKIES
7:00 am
Fri January 2, 2015

Western Slope Skies - Brightness of the Moon

The Moon is very bright during the first week of January, and it’s tempting to go for a snow shoe trek or ski tour by moonlight.  But two weeks ago, the moon was hardly visible at all.  There is one main factor that determines the visibility and brightness of the moon:  lunar phase. But, varying Earth-Moon distance also plays a role.

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StoryCorps
12:30 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

NORAD's Santa Tracker Began With A Typo And A Good Sport

Col. Harry Shoup came to be known as the "Santa Colonel." He died in 2009.
Courtesy of NORAD

Originally published on Sat December 20, 2014 7:45 pm

This Christmas Eve people all over the world will log on to the official Santa Tracker to follow his progress through U.S. military radar. This all started in 1955, with a misprint in a Colorado Springs newspaper and a call to Col. Harry Shoup's secret hotline at the Continental Air Defense Command, now known as NORAD.

Shoup's children, Terri Van Keuren, 65, Rick Shoup, 59, and Pam Farrell, 70, recently visited StoryCorps to talk about how the tradition began.

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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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