Supernovae flash with striking brightness

Greetings, stargazers. Last month, I talked about the nova in Delphini. The “new star” was not one being born, but a star near the end of its life gasping “not dead yet!” The Delphini nova is now...

DATE: Sept. 21, 2013 | COLUMN: What's up in Durango Skies

Nova Delphini: A new bright spot in the night sky

Greetings, stargazers. We all have the rare opportunity this month to see a nova that is, as of this writing, visible to the naked eye. The name nova literally means “new” star. (No, not a...

DATE: Aug. 26, 2013 | COLUMN: What's up in Durango Skies

Globular clusters: The cotton balls of the Milky Way

Greetings stargazers. The summer Milky Way is in the sky right after dusk, with the brightest parts toward the constellation Sagittarius. That means this is a good time of year to look for...

DATE: July 27, 2013 | COLUMN: What's up in Durango Skies

Light pollution can steal stars from night sky

Greetings, stargazers. I recently received some new lights for the Old Fort Lewis campus, where the observatory is. These new lights are to replace the current street/security lights, and once...

DATE: June 22, 2013 | COLUMN: What's up in Durango Skies

For sky watchers, now is a great time to party

Greetings stargazers. Now that the days are getting warmer, many of us want to get outside more often and even stay outside well into the evening. I find it a little funny that the time of year...

DATE: May 25, 2013 | COLUMN: What's up in Durango Skies

Galaxies are plentiful, but which is which?

Greetings stargazers. For many amateur astronomers with small telescopes, spring is galaxy season. At any moderately dark site, which includes most of the Four Corners, you can see scores of these...

DATE: April 27, 2013 | COLUMN: What's up in Durango Skies

Messier Marathon: Take a long run around the sky

Greetings stargazers. Charles Messier (1730-1817) was a French comet hunter. While he did discover 13 comets, his more famous contribution to astronomy was a list he made of objects that were not...

DATE: March 23, 2013 | COLUMN: What's up in Durango Skies

Sky debris fun to see – but don’t let it fall on you

Greetings stargazers. It will be hard to write this month’s article without mentioning the recent event in Chelyabinsk, Russia, so let’s get that one out of the way first. Yes, it was a coincidence...

DATE: Feb. 22, 2013 | COLUMN: What's up in Durango Skies

It’s true: The winter hexagon reveals 8 stars

Greetings stargazers. Jupiter is high overhead now. Except for the moon, it will be the brightest thing in the evening sky this month, and is a good pointer to part of a rather large asterism. An...

DATE: Jan. 26, 2013 | COLUMN: What's up in Durango Skies

If your ‘seeing’ is blurry, it may not be your eyes

Greetings stargazers. It is a good thing you are reading this – it means we entered the next Maya calendar b’ak’tun with fewer disruptions than the Y2K computer glitches that threatened...

DATE: Dec. 22, 2012 | COLUMN: What's up in Durango Skies

Envision someone with sky-gazing binoculars

Greetings, stargazers. This is the time of year retailers love, and many of you might be in the market for a new gadget to help with your stargazing endeavors. Thinking of a telescope? By far, the...

DATE: Nov. 24, 2012 | COLUMN: What's up in Durango Skies

Can’t find your way? Cassiopeia may be of some help

Greetings stargazers. Navigating by the stars is not very common in these days of GPS-enabled cellphones, but if you want to enjoy the sky from an unfamiliar location, it is often useful to be able...

DATE: Oct. 25, 2012 | COLUMN: What's up in Durango Skies

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