Charles Hakes


In January, Earth moves fastest around the sun

Greetings, stargazers. January is the month that the Earth moves the fastest around the sun. Or looked at from our perspective, the sun moves faster through the sky in January. Every day the sun...

DATE: Jan. 9, 2021 | COLUMN: What's up in Durango Skies

Jupiter, Saturn to converge in the ‘Great Conjunction’ on Dec. 21

Greetings, stargazers. Unless you have been living under a rock, you have probably heard there will be a “Great Conjunction” between Jupiter and Saturn on Dec. 21. Jupiter and Saturn are already...

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

Binoculars greatly expand your view of the night sky

Greetings, stargazers. Every couple of years, I write a column about binocular observing because there are lots of things in the sky that benefit from the extra light gathering with minimal...

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

Close to Earth, Mars to look extra big and bright

Greetings, Stargazers. This is definitely the season for Mars, because this month, Mars will be closer to Earth than at any time in the next 15 years. Mars reaches opposition when it and the Earth...

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

Jupiter and Saturn are the stars of September’s night sky

Greetings, Stargazers. September is the month when daylight hours shorten faster than any other month. Even though autumn doesn’t officially begin until the equinox early on the morning of the...

DATE: Sept. 12, 2020 | COLUMN: What's up in Durango Skies

Inside constellation Lyra, scope out a double-double

Greetings, Stargazers. As I write this, we have just finished a much-needed monsoon week. But today the clouds are gone, and the afternoon temperature is back into the 90s. It definitely feels...

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

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

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