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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Looking Up: So Long And Thanks For All The Barium

Feb 19, 2018
Image via bisque.com / earthsky.org

This week on Looking Up... meet Alphard, a giant orange sun that seems to have lost its partner but gained a lot of barium in the process.

In earlier episodes, we’ve talked about the bright stars that make up the winter night sky here in southern Colorado. We’ve talked about the very bright Sirius, and the only slightly less bright Procyon, Castor, Pollux, and so on. Today, I want to tell you about a very interesting star that is a bit farther to the east, forming a triangle, laying on its side, with Sirius and Procyon, the weird orange star Alphard.

Looking Up: This Subject Matter Is 'Way Out There'

Feb 12, 2018
Image Credit & Copyright: Damian Peach, Jose J. Chambo / nasa.gov

This week on Looking Up Hal gives us the extended celestial forecast - partly cloudy, with a chance for comets...

I admit it; I’m a sucker for comets. I can’t help but wax a tad philosophic when I think of these remarkable and ancient objects. There are famous comets that come back regularly – think Halley’s Comet – and there are others, like the very bright Comet West back in 1976, that have much larger orbits, over 70,000 times the Earth-Sun distance, and so won’t return for about 500 million years, give or take. 

Image Credit & Copyright: Jingyi Zhang / nasa.gov

This week  Hal dusts off a topic we covered previously on Looking Up but is now in need of an update.

A couple years ago I told you about a cool thing you can see in the Southern Colorado sky, Zodiacal Light! And the good news is, it’s back.

M. Procell

This week on Looking Up Hal prepares us for the impending total lunar eclipse. 

Set your alarms early for Wednesday, January 31st, because it will be your only chance in 2018, and your first in two years, to see a total lunar eclipse! And we in the West have the best look at it, as the Moon sets for folks east of the Mississippi before the show really gets going.

Looking Up: Medicine Map To The Stars

Jan 22, 2018
National Park Service / Wikimedia Commons

This week on Looking Up guest host Bruce Bookout gets around to talking about Medicine Wheels and how they relate to ancient astronomy.

Nearly every ancient civilization has studied the night sky, whether it was for navigation, measuring time, or spiritual purposes.  The Plains Indians of the West were no exception.  Dotting the high hills of the northern plains are hundreds of Native American stone constructions, called medicine wheels that are aligned to the stars.  

Looking Up: Flashy Footstool

Jan 15, 2018
Original uploader was Orthogaffe at fr.wikipedia / Wikimedia Commons

This week on Looking Up Hal points out a lesser known star near the constellation Orion that appears to want our attention.

We’re just two weeks into the New Year, and already I’m going to curse, sort of, on the radio. That’s because today I want to talk to you about the very interesting star, Cursa, high in the Colorado sky right now.

Looking Up: Seeing Red

Jan 8, 2018
earthsky.org

Wondering what some of those bright and colorful objects rising in the eastern pre dawn sky are? This week on Looking Up Hal identifies some of those mysterious spheres.

I warned you last week that you’ll need to get up early to see most of the stuff I’m talking about in January, and this episode is no exception. But, if you do get up early, you’ll get to see something really cool, and I mean that literally.

M. Procell

Happy New Year! This week on Looking Up you can get an early start on scanning the 2018 skies. Inconspicuous Mercury is in the pre dawn sky, and a full blown moon dominates tonight.

As you listen to the upcoming January episodes of Looking Up, you may find a common theme – stuff to look at in the early morning. Sometimes things just line up that way.

Jason Furman from CSAS

Audio Pending...

It's a very appropriately themed topic of wonderment on Looking Up this week...

Merry Christmas everyone, and in keeping with the holiday spirit let’s talk about the Christmas tree you can find in the Colorado night sky right now, the Christmas Tree Nebula! 

Looking Up: Wasat An Innie Or An Outie?

Dec 18, 2017
Greek Mythology Wiki is a FANDOM Lifestyle Community. Content is available under CC-BY-SA. / greekmythology.wikia.com

This week on Looking Up Hal answers the question that everyone tends to ask at some point in their life - "what's that?"

Our astronomy club does a large number of public star parties over the course of the year, and it is very common for a person at one of our events to point to a star in the sky and ask, “what’s that?” Well, this week, I’m going to tell you about a star that is a great answer for the question “what’s that?' -  the star Wasat.

Looking Up: The Magnificent 7

Dec 11, 2017
Creative Commons / creativecommons.org

This week on Looking Up guest host Bruce Bookout continues our archeo-astronomy lesson on time keeping.

Our calendar has direct ties to astronomy with our count of days as we revolve around the Sun and our count of moonths as the moon goes around the Earth.  The remaining count you might say has a weak relationship to astronomy.

Looking Up: Aloha

Dec 4, 2017
European Southern Observatory / M. Kornmesser / nasa.gov

This week on Looking Up we officially welcome 1I/2017, affectionately known as "Oumuamua". To our knowledge, it's the first ever interstellar visitor to our solar system.

Did you happen to feel the entirety of the human experience tick up just a bit in the last few weeks? No? Then you likely have not heard about an object in the Colorado sky right now. You can’t see it, it’s too small, but astronomers have spotted something never before seen in human history – a visitor from another star.

Looking Up: You Can Call Me Albedo

Nov 27, 2017
earthsky.org

This week on Looking Up Hal gives us a good reason to get out of bed early on these cold autumn mornings.

Today’s edition of Looking Up is for those folks who are up and at them before dawn. The rest of you can take a break, or you can get up early one day to see an early morning celestial show with the two brightest planets in our Colorado sky, Jupiter and Venus.

Looking Up: A Moonth By Any Other Name

Nov 20, 2017
By Firkin / creative commons / openclipart

This month's archeo-astronomy lesson takes on a Novemberish tone with guest host Bruce Bookout.

We mark a calendar to help us track our revolution around the sun. Over the centuries we found breaking the year up into smaller portions was useful. Calendars are funny things in that keeping them and naming their parts lends to strange things.    

X-ray: NASA/CXC/CfA/E. O'Sullivan Optical: Canada-France-Hawaii-Telescope/Coelum / nasa.gov

This week a quintet of galaxies takes center stage on Looking Up.

What would you say if I told you there was a beautiful quintet available to you, right now? Would you reach for your headphones? Well, in this case, it’s not a lovely musical interlude, but rather an amazing and beautiful grouping of galaxies high in the Colorado night sky, called Stephan’s Quintet. 

Looking Up: The Comet Who Came In From The Cold

Nov 6, 2017
gnokii / Creative Commons Open Clipart

This week on Looking Up we hear the strange tale of a comet with a killer name - ASSASN 1.

Every now and then, we are graced by a visit from a comet from deep space, and right now, we have one of those visitors in the inner-solar system right now.

NASA, JPL-Caltech, GALEX, C. Martin (Caltech), M. Seibert(OCIW) / nasa.org

This week on Looking Up Hal has a Halloween themed story in mind.

Well, it’s almost Halloween – a night for strange and spooky stuff and maybe a good ghost story. So how about I tell you the tale of the strange and ghostly star, Mira?

Looking Up: Saturn Slides Off Into The Sunset

Oct 23, 2017
NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute / nasa.gov

This week on Looking Up Bruce Bookout gives us a brief archeoastronomy lesson on the planet Saturn.

As summer wanes, one of the most beautiful planets in the heavens will be leaving our skies for the far side of the solar system. As Saturn moves behind the sun for the next several months, let’s “ring” around some of Saturn’s legends.

Looking Up: I Am Grus

Oct 16, 2017
Chaouki (Frankfurt, Germany) / Wikimedia Commons

This week on Looking Up we learn a little bit about Grus the Crane, a relatively 'new' constellation.

When you think of the elegant bird known as the Crane, you likely think of grace and bright feathers. But when you look at the constellation of the Crane, visible low in the South in Colorado skies right now, you might be in for a surprise.

Looking Up: To Catch A Globular Cluster...

Oct 9, 2017
NASA/STScI/WikiSky

This week on Looking Up we're back in the Constellation Capricornus, this time to hear about M 30, a globular cluster, and what makes it so special.

Have you ever felt like things were getting crowded? If so, you may have something in common with the remarkable globular cluster, known as Messier object number 30, high in the southern Colorado sky right now. 

Looking Up: A Goat Tail Tale

Oct 2, 2017
By Firkin / Creative Commons Open Clipart

This week on Looking Up Hal tells the tale of Scheddie, a dying star in the constellation Capricornus.

Some people are known by a single name, like Cher, just as some stars are known by a single name, like Polaris or Betelgeuse. But most of us have more than one name, and there is a star in the Southern Colorado sky right now with at least three names. 

Looking Up: The Little Spacecraft That Could...

Sep 25, 2017
NASA/JPL-Caltech / nasa.gov

This week on Looking Up we learn the whereabouts of Voyager 1.

Over the past 140 or so episodes of Looking Up, we’ve talked about all kinds of astronomical items up in the sky. Today, let’s talk about something that is far out, but is also man-made, our first interstellar spacecraft, Voyager 1.

Looking Up: Something Old, Something New...

Sep 18, 2017
Stephen Leshin, Collaboration: Deidre Hunter and LARI / nasa.gov

This week on Looking Up Hal introduces us to one of our galactic neighbors - Barnards' Galaxy.

Do you live in a small town that is seeing lots of new things being built all the time? If so, you have a lot in common with a tiny galaxy that is our neighbor in space, the remarkable Barnard’s Galaxy. 

Looking Up: A Tunnel Runs Through It

Sep 11, 2017
Terry Hancock (Down Under Observatory) / nasa.gov

This week on Looking Up Hal guides us towards the very center of the Milky Way Galaxy.

When you look at the constellation Sagittarius, now visible in the Southern Colorado sky, you are looking toward the actual center of our spinning pinwheel of a galaxy, the Milky Way. And the Milky Way is big, with at least 200 billion stars, and it is dirty – in that there are vast clouds of dust and gas that block our view inward toward the center, or core, of our galaxy.

Dieter Willasch (Astro-Cabinet) / nasa.gov

This week on Looking Up Hal directs our attention to an open cluster of stars located in the tail of the Scorpion.

We’ve talked before about the constellation Scorpio, and how, unlike so many other constellations, it actually looks like its name – a scorpion. High in the southern Colorado sky right now, the scorpion has a beautiful straggler following behind the stars that make up the stinger – the gorgeous bunch of stars known as Ptolemy’s Cluster.

https://bobs-spaces.net/ / EARTHSKY.ORG

This week on Looking Up Hal tells the tale of a star in the tail of Scorpio.

Hopefully, you’ve never had to deal with a really bad neighbor. But if you are part of the double star system Kappa Scorpii, better known as Girtab, you just might be in for the worst kind of bad neighbor, the exploding kind.

S. Habbal/M. Druckmüller / nasa.gov

And it's definitely not 'the same old thing as yesterday'. Today is the day that many folks throughout the Continental U.S. will have an opportunity to witness a once in a lifetime total solar eclipse!

This is an exciting morning, astronomically speaking, in Colorado Springs! If you are listening to the first airing of Looking Up, at 9 am, pay close attention to what will be happening very soon. If you are listening to a rerun, hope you enjoyed the eclipse!

S. Habbal, M. Druckmuller, and P. Aniol / nasa.gov

In this Looking Up Extra Edition, Mike Procell interviews Hal Bidlack in anticipation of the total solar eclipse coming up August 21, 2017. There's also some additional information on events related to the solar eclipse that are happening in the Colorado Springs area that day.

Looking Up: Me And My Shadows...

Aug 14, 2017
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio / nasa.gov

This week on Looking Up Hal has some advice for those observers not in the path of totality of the upcoming solar eclipse on August 21st. In other words, what to expect during a partial solar eclipse.

We are only a week away from that rare and beautiful astronomical wonder, a solar eclipse. If you’ve decided not to drive up to Wyoming or western Nebraska next Monday, let me give you a couple of tips on how to look at the partial eclipse visible in southern Colorado, and what you are going to see.

Looking Up: Slippin' Into Darkness...

Aug 7, 2017
nasa.gov

This week on Looking Up Bruce Bookout continues our series of episodes regarding the upcoming total solar eclipse on August 21st, 2017.

We continue our series preparing for the solar eclipse. Let’s take a look at how older cultures viewed this celestial event.

An eclipse is always a disruption of the established order.  Cultures depend on the sun's movement because of its predictability; It is regular, dependable, tamper proof. And then, all of a sudden. . . the sun vanishes into darkness.  

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