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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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.

Another Mooningless Title..

Jun 1, 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!

The planet Saturn has 67 known moons, more than any other planet in the solar system so far. Two of the most interesting are the biggest, Titan, and one of the smallest, Enceladus.

Titan is the second largest moon in the solar system, and is even larger than the planet Mercury. Titan is bright enough to be seen in relatively small telescopes.

Furiously Fast

May 25, 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!

The absolute favorite of many astronomers is visible in the sky right now, the planet Saturn. It is hard to express how beautiful Saturn is through a telescope, so you really do want to come to one of our public star parties and take a peek. Saturn’s beauty will take your breath away. It has rings!

Spike to Spica

May 18, 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 few episodes ago we talked about the star Arcturus, and how you could find it by following the curve of the handle of the Big Dipper across the sky. Today let’s talk about what happens if you keep following that same curve past Arcturus. You can speed on, to Spica

Regal Regulus

May 11, 2015
clipart.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!

As you look up in the southern Colorado sky, did you know that you can see a lion? 

Size Doesn't Matter When You're This Hot!

May 4, 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!

There is a planet in our solar system that is close enough to us, and bright enough, to be easily seen, yet very few people have actually seen it. Can you guess which one it is? 

It’s Mercury, the closest planet to the sun. And it is that closeness that makes Mercury so hard to spot.

Arc to Arcturus

Apr 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!

Did you know that in 1933, the light from a star was used to turn on the lights at the Chicago World’s Fair? 

Wobbly Pole Dancer

Apr 20, 2015
clipart.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!

If you had to pick the most important star to humans in the northern hemisphere over the past few thousand years, which star would you pick? I don’t think there is much doubt it would be Polaris, the pole star.

Polaris is very near due north for anyone north of the equator. As such, it has been a vital navigational aid for everything from ships at sea to escaped slaves before the Civil War, seeking a path north to freedom.

Bear Asterism

Apr 13, 2015
clipart.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 best known grouping of stars for most of us is the Big Dipper. This collection of stars in the northern sky looks like, well, a big dipper, with a long handle and a scoop up front. 

TWO FOR ONE - Sirius

Apr 6, 2015
clipart.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!

Umbral-ievable

Mar 30, 2015
Mike Procell

  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!

This coming Saturday, April 4th, we get to see one of the more rare events in the night sky – a total lunar eclipse. 

Andromeda... coming soon!!!

Mar 23, 2015
Allan Runyan

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!   On a clear day in Southern Colorado you can see for miles, to Pikes Peak, the Spanish Peaks and beyond. But have you ever wondered what is the most distant thing you can see with your naked eye?The answer is up in the western sky right now – the Andromeda Galaxy!

Milky Way Cool...

Mar 16, 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!

Where do you live? Often there are several ways to answer that question. Your street, your city, your state and more. Where we live in the Universe is the same kind of thing. We live on Earth, which revolves around the sun as part of our solar system. But our sun is one of approximately 200 BILLION stars that make up our galaxy, the Milky Way. 

Moon Half Full Or Half Empty?

Mar 9, 2015
photo by Mike 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 in the night’s sky!

If I asked you to guess where you can take a walk and know that your footprints will last for a very long time, what would you guess?

If you guessed the surface of the moon, you’d be right! The moon is the only place in the universe, other than the Earth, where humans have walked. Because there is no wind or rain on the Moon, the footprints left by the Apollo astronauts will last for millions of years!

Better Call Sol

Mar 2, 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!

Astronomers use telescopes to look at distant stars. But how big a telescope do you think you would need to be able to see the closest star to us here on the Earth? 

Okay, it’s a trick question – the answer is none! Our own sun is the closest star to us. And while it is about 93 million miles away, astronomically speaking that is right next door!

Jupiter Ascending

Feb 23, 2015
clipart.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 in the night sky!

If you look to the east an hour or two after sunset, you will see something shining brilliantly in the eastern sky – the planet Jupiter! In fact, Jupiter is the 4th brightest thing in the sky, after the sun, the moon, and the planet Venus.

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