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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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. 

Huddle Up

Aug 17, 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!

Last month we talked about the star Deneb, which makes up the tail feather in the constellation Cygnus the Swan. Today let’s talk about the star at the other end of the Swan, Albireo. 

Albireo is the head of the Swan. It’s original Arabic name meant “the hens beak,” because this constellation really does look like a bird in flight.

Improved Perseids... now even meteor

Aug 10, 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!

We’re just a couple of days away from one of the most remarkable astronomical shows you will see in the southern Colorado sky – the Perseid meteor shower! 

The Centaur of the Galaxy

Aug 3, 2015
M. Procell

  

  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!

Now that we’re well into summer the constellation Sagittarius soars in the southern Colorado sky. If you look at a star chart, Sagittarius is shown to be a centaur with a bow and arrow. But frankly, that shape is pretty hard to spot. But there is a part of the Sagittarius constellation, however, that does leap out - the famous teapot. 

Altair-nating brightness

Jul 27, 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!

Previously we talked about two of the three stars that make up the summer triangle, Vega and Deneb. Today let’s finish off the triangle by talking about the last star in the group, Altair. Altair is the southernmost member of the triangle.

Universal Monster Picture

Jul 20, 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!

Last month we talked about the star Vega, one of three stars that make up the Summer triangle, visible to southern Colorado listeners in the East about an hour after sunset. 

Faster than a speeding bullet...

Jul 13, 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!

Something truly extraordinary is going to happen early tomorrow morning, something that is been planned for decades and will be over in a couple of hours – the New Horizons mission to Pluto! After more than nine years traveling through space, and covering over 3 billion miles, this piano – sized spacecraft is already changing what we thought we knew about Pluto. 

A nebula with a ring to it..

Jul 6, 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!

Did you know there is a vast ghost cheerio floating in space above your head right now? It’s true!  It’s called the Ring Nebula, and it’s a spectacular and amazing thing to see. You’ll need a telescope to see it, so check out the calendar at CSastro.org for an upcoming star party.

Close Encounters

Jun 29, 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!

A rare and remarkable thing is going to happen in Southern Colorado skies tomorrow, June 30th, and you have a front row seat to watch it happen.

"VEGA - 4 1/2 Stars" - says Carl Sagan

Jun 22, 2015
en.wikipedia.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!

There is a very bright star in the southern Colorado skies right now that you may have visited or read about, at least in science fiction stories, the star Vega! 

Vega has been visited by Capt. Kirk in Star Trek, and most famously as the location of an alien civilization’s transportation hub in both the book and the movie Contact.

Heart of the Scorpion

Jun 15, 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!

Did you know that there is a time bomb waiting to go off in the night sky right now? And it’s a big one – the supergiant star Antares! 

Glamorous Glob

Jun 8, 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!

Did you know that you have a planetarium in your pocket? If you have a smart phone, you have the universe at your fingertips. 

There are wonderful and free interactive sky maps available for both iPhone and Android users. You can use these programs to find interesting things in the sky by simply holding your phone over your head and letting it guide you to some of the wonders of our universe.

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