About: Charles Hakes teaches in the physics and engineering department at Fort Lewis College and is the director of the Fort Lewis Observatory. Email him at [email protected]

Region around Milky Way’s core offers many viewing rewards

Greetings, Stargazers. The center of the Milky Way galaxy is in the direction of the constellation Sagittarius. Just after dark, the galaxy core will be rising in the southeastern sky and be due...

DATE: July 11, 2020 | COLUMN: What's up in Durango Skies

Phases of twilight: True darkness arrives slowly after sunset

Greetings, Stargazers. June has fewer hours of darkness than any other month. The solstice occurs June 20, and because the name literally means the sun is standing still, the daylight hours a...

DATE: June 13, 2020 | COLUMN: What's up in Durango Skies

Low orbit satellites reflect sunlight after sunset, before sunrise

Greetings, Stargazers. My May column is often a time I get to list upcoming summer star parties, but for another month, these will have to wait. I really do hope that we can get together soon, but...

DATE: May 9, 2020 | COLUMN: What's up in Durango Skies

Comets are unpredictable travelers through the solar system

Greetings, Stargazers. Now that the days are getting warmer and our entertainment options are more limited, this might be the perfect time to sit in isolation under the stars and contemplate your...

DATE: April 10, 2020 | COLUMN: What's up in Durango Skies

Photographs of the night sky require careful processing

Greetings, Stargazers. The social media meme I saw last week directed at teachers is that there is a time change, a full moon and a Friday the 13th all in the same week, so good luck. I am not...

DATE: March 14, 2020 | COLUMN: What's up in Durango Skies

Deep-sky astrophotography requires accurate focus, tracking

Greetings, Stargazers. Last month, I began describing a typical night of remote astrophotography, covering opening the dome, cooling the camera and pointing the telescope in the right direction....

DATE: Feb. 8, 2020 | COLUMN: What's up in Durango Skies

How deep-sky astrophotography works at the Old Fort Lewis Observatory

Greetings, Stargazers. I must admit that I spend more time looking at the stars and other celestial objects with the aid of a camera than I do with my naked eye. I have written a couple of...

DATE: Jan. 11, 2020 | COLUMN: What's up in Durango Skies

Comet Borisov visits from outside solar system

Greetings, Stargazers. It was only two years ago that the first confirmed interstellar object was identified passing through the solar system. The fact that the asteroid-like object ‘Oumuamua...

DATE: Dec. 14, 2019 | COLUMN: What's up in Durango Skies

Great Square defines Pegasus in the autumn sky

Greetings, Stargazers. The fall evening sky is often thought of as the empty gap between the rich summer Milky Way sky and the bright winter constellations surrounding Orion. In the middle of this...

DATE: Nov. 9, 2019 | COLUMN: What's up in Durango Skies

Find some of the oldest stars in globular clusters

Greetings, Stargazers. I need to make myself a set of cheat cards for my favorite objects in the sky so I can answer questions in more detail at the next star party. I have to admit that I rely on...

DATE: Oct. 12, 2019 | COLUMN: What's up in Durango Skies

Discover gems inside night sky’s flying swan

Greetings, Stargazers. Cygnus the swan is flying south along the Milky Way. Although Cygnus is one of the larger and brighter constellations, I haven’t yet written a separate column on this...

DATE: Sept. 14, 2019 | COLUMN: What's up in Durango Skies

Hubble palette reveals glowing clouds of gas

Greetings, Stargazers. Happy monsoon season. I have been enjoying the nice clear mornings, followed by afternoon, dog-freaking thunderstorms, even if it puts a damper on evening observations. If...

DATE: Aug. 10, 2019 | COLUMN: What's up in Durango Skies

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