Looking Up

Each week Hal Bidlack from the Colorado Springs Astronomical Society alerts Southern Colorado listeners to what to watch for in our night skies.

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Stars That Play Together Stray Together

Mar 14, 2016
Credit & Copyright: Processing - Noel Carboni, Imaging - Greg Parker / nasa

This week Hal tells us about M 67, the oldest open star cluster in the entire Messier catalog.

We’ve talked before about objects in the southern Colorado and northern New Mexico sky that appear on 18th-century astronomer Charles Messier’s list of things not to look at. Messier was a comet hunter, and he kept getting confused by objects in the sky that turned out not to be comets. 

Lightly Dusted

Mar 7, 2016
Image Credit & Copyright: Yuri Beletsky (Las Campanas Observatory, Carnegie Institution) / NASA

This week Hal illuminates us on some particular particulates. 

Our Solar System is mostly empty space. Extending across billions of miles, the Solar System you learned about in school contains eight or nine planets, depending on how old you are, with the Sun in the middle, and lots of empty space between. But as with most things, it’s a little more complicated, and a little more beautiful, than you might think.

Classy Gassie Cassie

Feb 29, 2016
NASA/JPL-Caltech/STScI/CXC/SAO Animation: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Ariz./STScI/CXC/SAO

This week Hal wonders what the night sky would look like from a different perspective.

How bright are the brightest things you see in the sky?

As you remember from school, there are forms of electromagnetic energy, such as radio waves, that have wavelengths that can be measured in miles, while at the other end of the spectrum, gamma rays have wavelengths so tiny several could fit across a hydrogen atom.

Navi - The Guiding Light As The World Turns...

Feb 22, 2016
M. Procell

 This week Hal tells the tale of a star named Navi.

Did you know that you are being watched over by a queen on her throne every night, year-round? Well, you are. Queen Cassiopeia sits on her throne in the northern sky, and this constellation is visible year-round. 

Es-steamed Crab

Feb 15, 2016
NASA/CXC/SAO

 This week Hal's "Guest Star" is the Crab Nebula...

If you were looking up during the daytime, in July of the year 1054, you might’ve noticed what observers saw in China, Japan, Korea, and quite possibly in North America -- something that shouldn’t be there -- a new star visible in the daytime. Each of those cultures documented the appearance of this new star, which was visible for days, even in the bright blue skies of a warm July afternoon. Eventually it faded, and was gone from the sky. 

Saiph Cracking

Feb 8, 2016
John Gauvreau / nasa.gov

This week Hal sheds some light on Saiph, a lesser known star in the constellation Orion.

The universe is a remarkable place, filled with remarkable objects that never appear to play it safe. Except, of course, for the star named Saiph.

Saiph is perhaps the most overlooked star in the wonderful constellation Orion. The brilliantly bright Rigel shines in the lower right star in the constellation, while the nearly-as-bright Betelgeuse famously sits as the upper left star in Orion’s shoulder. Across from Betelgeuse, occupying the other shoulder, is Bellatrix, a wonderful star whose name was borrowed for character in Harry Potter.

But poor Saiph, which is spelled S-A-I-P-H...

2016: A Space Oddity

Feb 1, 2016
earthsky.org

This week Hal lets us know what we can see in the early morning sky for the next several weeks...

How many planets are there in the solar system? I admit, it’s a trick question. Before 2006, most school kids learned that there were nine planets. There were a number of ways to remember all the names. One of my favorites was “My very educated mother just served us nine pizza pies.” That rhyme helped children remember the planets in the order out from the Sun: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto.

Ivo Scheggia / nasa.gov

This week Hal tells us about Rigel, another beautiful star located in the Orion constellation.

Many of the most beautiful stars in the sky appear in the winter for southern Colorado and northern New Mexico listeners. One of the most beautiful is the star Rigel, which makes up the lower right star in the constellation Orion. And, like Betelgeuse in the upper left corner of Orion, Rigel is a baby – only 8 to 10 million years old. 

Betelgeuse... best by 01/18/102016

Jan 18, 2016
ESA/Herschel/PACS/L. Decin et al / NASA.gov

This week Hal informs us about the future plans of a red supergiant star.

This is “Looking UP! in southern Colorado,” from the Colorado Springs Astronomical Society. I’m Hal Bidlack, and there are lots of reasons to look up!

Warning – there’s a giant bomb in the sky, it’s going to go off soon! And by soon, I mean in the next hundred thousand years or so. And by giant bomb, I mean the wonderful and amazing star Betelgeuse!

Little Brocyon

Jan 11, 2016
Wally Pacholka -AstroPics.com / nasa.gov

This week Hal enlightens us about the sixth brightest star visible in the northern hemisphere. 

As the fourth of four children, I’m very sympathetic to the burden of being someone’s little brother. With that in mind, imagine being one of the brightest stars in the sky, and one of the most beautiful stars visible this time of year to southern Colorado and northern New Mexico listeners, and still being named someone’s little brother. Thus is the fate of the wonderful star Procyon. 

Mythguided

Jan 5, 2016
clipart.com

 

 

This week Hal tells us about Castor & Pollux, the Gemini Twins. 

If you been around the Sun enough times to reach middle age, you may well remember the Gemini space program. Following the one-man missions of the Mercury program, and before the three-man missions to the moon in the Apollo program, there was the Gemini program, launching two astronauts into orbit to test rendezvous and other vital components needed for a moon landing. But did you ever wonder why they named the program Gemini? 

Bullseye

Dec 28, 2015
Jerry Lodriguss / NASA.gov

This week Hal tells us about one of the brightest stars in the sky, a red giant by the name of Aldebaran.

I’ll warn you up front, this episode has a lot of bull. Because this week, we’re talking about the remarkable star Aldebaran, which forms the red eye in the constellation Taurus the Bull. Aldebaran rises in the East shortly after Sunset and is visible all night long. It’s easy to find. Draw a line through the belt in the constellation Orion, up and to the right and you will hit Aldebaran.

Ye Olde Comet Tails

Dec 21, 2015
Ian Sharp / NASA.gov

This week Hal sheds light on the origin and orbit of Comet Catalina.

Have you been feeling any sense of doom lately? Have you been worried about Kings falling from their thrones? If so, it might be related to a brand-new celestial visitor to our skies, a comet! And it might also mean you think we are still in the Middle Ages, because that’s when people thought that comets were harbingers of ill fortune, rather than amazing visitors from the great beyond. 

3200 Phaethon Trail

Dec 14, 2015
M. Procell

    

This week Hal tells us about a natural holiday light show.

The Geminid Meteor Shower is one of the best of the year, and tonight is about the best night for viewing this amazing celestial show. The Geminid’s are so great for observing because it’s a fairly intense meteor shower, with 1 to 2 meteors per minute if you’re away from the brightest of the city’s lights, and because the best time to see the highest number of meteors is around 11 PM. 

Occultation Culmination

Dec 7, 2015
Peter Heinzen / NASA.gov

 This week Hal tells us about an eclipse of the planet Venus that you can see in broad daylight.

You’ve seen the Moon every now and then during the daytime, visible against a bright blue sky. During the week or so leading up to a full Moon, you may have noticed the Moon visible before Sunset. And during the week or so after a full Moon, you may have noticed the Moon in the Western sky in the morning as you drove to work. But did you know you can also see the brighter planets, Venus, Jupiter, and even Saturn, during the daytime if you know just where to look?

Ahh! Capella

Nov 30, 2015
Babak Tafreshi/Nasa.gov

This week Hal gives a preview of some of the wonders of the winter night sky.

Some of the most beautiful things in the night sky appear during the winter months. And they’re worth bundling up for, so southern Colorado and northern New Mexico listeners, grab a scarf and head outside, because beauty awaits.  

Blue Woman Group

Nov 23, 2015
Lorenzi / NASA.gov

    

This week Hal talks about M45 (The Pleiades Cluster, AKA The Seven Sisters).   

The Pleiades is an open star cluster that is one of the most beautiful objects in the night sky. And, every year in the month of November the Pleiades rise around sunset and set around dawn, so they are visible all night long. You can see this bright little cluster of stars, often called the seven sisters, though most people only see six, by looking to the northeast after sunset. It’s the fuzzy patch above and to the right of the bright red star Aldebaran, which in turn is above and to the right of the constellation Orion.

Juvenile Attention

Nov 16, 2015
Wikipedia

This is “Looking UP! in southern Colorado,” from the Colorado Springs Astronomical Society. I’m Erick White, 6th grade student at Sabin Middle School, and there are lots of reasons to look up!

This month we have a meteor shower visible to listeners in Southern Colorado and Northern New Mexico: the Leonids. 


Spinnin' Wheel, Spinnin' True

Nov 9, 2015
Manfred Konrad

 

   This is “Looking UP! in southern Colorado,” from the Colorado Springs Astronomical Society. I’m Hal Bidlack, and there are lots of reasons to look up!

Lots of us like fireworks. One of my favorites are the spinning pinwheels shooting sparks off in every direction. Did you know there’s a galaxy looks like it’s doing that in southern Colorado skies right now? 

Hauty Toity

Nov 2, 2015
NASA, ESA, and P. Kalas (University of California, Berkeley and SETI Institute)

This is “Looking UP! in southern Colorado,” from the Colorado Springs Astronomical Society. I’m Hal Bidlack, and there are lots of reasons to look up!

Lots of us get lonely sometimes, and wish we had more friends around. If you’ve ever felt this way, imagine how the star Fomalhaut must feel. 


The Winkin' Memorial

Oct 26, 2015
earthsky.org

  This is “Looking UP! in southern Colorado,” from the Colorado Springs Astronomical Society. I’m Hal Bidlack, and there are lots of reasons to look up!

It’s Fall, the leaves are blowing in the wind, and Halloween is just around the corner. Seems like a great time to talk about the demon star! The star Algol lies in the constellation Perseus. And Algol is recorded as the winking eye of the severed head of the Gorgon Medusa. 

Mass Backwards

Oct 19, 2015
Ross Toro Space.com

  This is “Looking UP! in southern Colorado,” from the Colorado Springs Astronomical Society. I’m Hal Bidlack, and there are lots of reasons to look up!

The planet Uranus, and that’s how we’re going to pronounce it because most of us aren’t 12, was the first planet discovered by astronomers. It’s too dim to be visible to the naked eye and William Herschel discovered it in 1781 through a telescope. Herschel had hoped to name his new discovery “Georgian Sidus” in honor King George the third, but happily was overruled. 

You're So Vain.. er Navi

Oct 12, 2015
Wikipedia

  This is “Looking UP! in southern Colorado,” from the Colorado Springs Astronomical Society. I’m Hal Bidlack, and there are lots of reasons to look up!

Three AM...igos

Oct 5, 2015
Niko Powe courtesy of earthsky.org

  This is “Looking UP! in southern Colorado,” from the Colorado Springs Astronomical Society. I’m Hal Bidlack, and there are lots of reasons to look up!

Since we started this radio segment back in February, we talked about 35 different things you can see in the southern Colorado night sky. But today, let’s offer up something for the early risers – and talk about a remarkable grouping of planets visible in the Eastern predawn southern Colorado skies, say around 5 AM.

There's a point to the math

Sep 28, 2015
NASA

  This is “Looking UP! in southern Colorado,” from the Colorado Springs Astronomical Society. I’m Jim West, and there are lots of reasons to look up!

When looking through a telescope, there are two kinds of objects that make people say “wow.” There are objects that are intrinsically gorgeous on their own, like the Orion nebula or the planet Saturn, and there are objects that make you say wow, not because of their beauty, but because of the awe-inspiring realization of what you are seeing. The planet Neptune, one of my favorite telescope objects, is in the latter group.

Fall Equinox eclipsed by the Eclipse

Sep 21, 2015
earthspacecircle.blogspot.com

  This is “Looking UP! in southern Colorado,” from the Colorado Springs Astronomical Society. I’m Hal Bidlack, and there are lots of reasons to look up!

Two days from now, Wednesday, September 23rd, at 2:22am, southern Colorado listeners will experience the Autumnal Equinox. 

I don’t recommend setting an alarm, as there really isn’t too much to see, but equinox is important to astronomers and to farmers, at least farmers before the industrial age.

Feature of the Black Lagoon

Sep 14, 2015
Image Credit: Hubble Legacy Archive, NASA, ESA - Processing & Licence: Judy Schmidt

This is “Looking UP! in southern Colorado,” from the Colorado Springs Astronomical Society. I’m Hal Bidlack, and there are lots of reasons to look up!

Ever want to take a tropical vacation? Well there is one waiting for you in the night sky right now – the Lagoon nebula. 

This vast glowing cloud of gas might be just visible with the naked eye if you are away from city lights. It covers an area of the sky equivalent to three full moons across, and it is beautiful to see through a telescope.

The Great Square - a horse's asterism

Sep 7, 2015
Pegasustheatre.org

  This is “Looking UP! in southern Colorado,” from the Colorado Springs Astronomical Society. I’m Hal Bidlack, and there are lots of reasons to look up!

This is a great time of year for astronomy. The stars of summer are still up there but we're starting to see wonderful things from the fall and getting hints of what the winter sky will look like. Rising in the southern Colorado sky, and visible until next spring, is the constellation Pegasus. This winged horse is one of the largest constellations in the sky. 

Chi Cygni Swan Song

Aug 31, 2015
Sylvestre Lacour - Observatoire_de_Paris / www.astronomynow.com

This is “Looking UP! in southern Colorado,” from the Colorado Springs Astronomical Society. I’m Hal Bidlack, and there are lots of reasons to look up!

There are some weird things in the southern Colorado sky, one of the weirdest is the star Chi Cygni, in the constellation Cygnus the Swan. 


Creative Destruction Can Be Messier

Aug 24, 2015
NASA

 

   This is “Looking UP! in southern Colorado,” from the Colorado Springs Astronomical Society. I’m Hal Bidlack, and there are lots of reasons to look up!

Charles Messier was a French astronomer in the 1770s and 1780s who loved comets. Because he kept spotting objects that he thought might be comets that turned out to be something else, he made a catalog of all the things he saw in the sky that were not comets, so that no one would bother looking at them. 

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