Charles Hakes

Email: hakes_c@fortlewis.edu

Why isn’t Jupiter much brighter than Venus?

Greetings, stargazers. Beside the moon, the three brightest objects in the sky are all visible right now. Venus in the west, Jupiter in the east and Sirius, the only one that is an actual star,...

DATE: Feb. 21, 2015 | COLUMN: What's up in Durango Skies

Binoculars can illuminate comet Lovejoy

Greetings, stargazers. If you haven’t seen a comet yet, this is your chance. Comet C/2014 Q2 (Lovejoy) is now a dim naked-eye object. If you are not looking closely, it could be confused with any...

DATE: Jan. 24, 2015 | COLUMN: What's up in Durango Skies

Familiar Orion offers much to contemplate

Greetings, stargazers. Perhaps the most recognizable constellation in the winter sky is Orion. Many people unfamiliar with the night sky can at least recognize the three stars of Orion’s belt....

DATE: Dec. 27, 2014 | COLUMN: What's up in Durango Skies

Galilean moons of Jupiter offer regular eclipses

Greetings, stargazers. I hope you enjoyed the recent great pictures from comet Churyumov–Gerasimenko (or 67P for short) as much as I did. Launched in 2004 by the European Space Agency, the...

DATE: Nov. 22, 2014 | COLUMN: What's up in Durango Skies

LED lights save energy but add light to night sky

Greetings, stargazers. A very common question you may have asked or you might hear from a child is: “Why is the sky blue?” An excellent question that goes right along with: “Why are sunsets red?”...

DATE: Oct. 25, 2014 | COLUMN: What's up in Durango Skies

In October, take a peek at Uranus and two eclipses

Greetings, stargazers. Ancient astronomers knew of five “wanderers” in the sky. These five planets – Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn – are all very bright, and, obviously, they move with...

DATE: Sept. 27, 2014 | COLUMN: What's up in Durango Skies

With telescope, mine the riches of constellation Lyra

Greetings, stargazers. I hope you have been enjoying the dog days of summer. One reason these might be called the dog days is because Sirius, the dog star, is now roughly aligned with the sun....

DATE: Aug. 23, 2014 | COLUMN: What's up in Durango Skies

Remove the noise to let night sky pictures shine

Greetings, stargazers. Last month, I talked about astrophotography on the cheap. You can take photos with wide fields of view and either very short or very long exposures to get your feet wet in...

DATE: July 26, 2014 | COLUMN: What's up in Durango Skies

Photographing the stars can be fun and easy

Greetings, stargazers. Astrophotography is great fun even if you don’t have the most expensive camera on the block. At star parties, I frequently see people pull out their phone to snap a photo...

DATE: June 21, 2014 | COLUMN: What's up in Durango Skies

Near Hesperus, FLC observatory explores night sky

Greetings, stargazers. This time of year has fewer hours of darkness, but since school is out, I get more opportunities to use the Fort Lewis College Observatory. This spring, two physics...

DATE: May 24, 2014 | COLUMN: What's up in Durango Skies

Time to turn your telescope to our nearby neighbors

Greetings, stargazers. I hope you enjoyed the lunar eclipse more than doing your taxes. If you missed this one, there are more to come in the next couple of years. The next one happens Oct. 8....

DATE: April 26, 2014 | COLUMN: What's up in Durango Skies

The universe likes simplicity: Just ask hydrogen

Greetings, stargazers. We have barely passed the equinox, but it already feels like we are heading into summer. I think another few feet of snow would be great, but in the mean time I hope you...

DATE: March 22, 2014 | COLUMN: What's up in Durango Skies

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