Charles Hakes

Email: hakes_c@fortlewis.edu

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

All things were equal – on Equinox Day

Greetings stargazers. Happy belated Equinox Day. One of the biggest misconceptions, even among educated people, is that the reason for the seasons is that Earth moves closer to the sun in summer,...

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

Among stars, blue-hot is for bragging rights

Greetings, stargazers. In a previous article about the magnitude scale, I mentioned the bright stars Vega and Arcturus. They still are both overhead, but now shifted significantly to the west....

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

There are 88 constellations: Who’s who and what’s where?

Greetings stargazers. When people tell me they want to “learn” the night sky, what they often mean is they want to learn to identify the constellations they can see. There are 88 constellations in...

DATE: July 21, 2012 | COLUMN: What's up in Durango Skies

When looking at the night sky, 1 is bigger than 6; here’s why

Greetings, stargazers. This is the time of year when the brightest part of the Milky Way is rising in the east. Although the Milky Way indeed contains billions of stars, how many of those stars can...

DATE: June 23, 2012 | COLUMN: What's up in Durango Skies

Finding faraway planets hard, but Venus sight to see

Greetings stargazers. Last month I talked briefly about the astronomer Johannes Kepler, and his contributions to astronomy by describing the motions of the planets. This month I will talk about a...

DATE: May 26, 2012 | COLUMN: What's up in Durango Skies

A primer on the ellipse, a preview of the eclipse

Greetings, stargazers. Predicting the future is a tricky business. However, quite often that is exactly what scientists do. Understanding the way the universe works allows them to be able to...

DATE: April 21, 2012 | COLUMN: What's up in Durango Skies

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