Charles Hakes

Email: hakes_c@fortlewis.edu

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

Got cold feet? Don’t let that ruin sky-watching

Greetings stargazers. The Herald has asked me to write this monthly column that Lewis McCool did so well for so long. Since this is my first try, please be easy on the critiques.First, let me...

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

Eye on the future: Lots of planets and a farewell

The naked-eye planets are putting on an extended show these nights with something to watch from sunset to sunrise, treats for casual observers.Venus is hard to miss high in the western sky after...

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

In 2012, look toward the sun – with caution

The outgoing year brought us spectacular close-up photos of Mercury and the asteroid Vesta, discovery of dozens of extrasolar planets and more hints of water on Mars and our moon.The coming year...

DATE: Dec. 24, 2011 | COLUMN: What's up in Durango Skies

Scope shopping: Start modestly before you go big

This is the time of year when I receive emails asking for suggestions about telescope purchases.I’m reluctant to answer because there are many options and expectations vary.Newcomers often are...

DATE: Nov. 26, 2011 | COLUMN: What's up in Durango Skies

Bright moon raining on our meteor showers

This has not been a very good year for meteor watching. Our moon keeps showing at the most inopportune times. That’ll be the case again in November.The Taurids result from an unusually dispersed...

DATE: Oct. 22, 2011 | COLUMN: What's up in Durango Skies

October a good time to see a galaxy away

You know that fall’s here when you can spot the Great Square of Pegasus in the eastern sky in the early evening.Three of the constellation’s brightest stars, Markab, Scheat and Algenib, along with...

DATE: Sept. 24, 2011 | COLUMN: What's up in Durango Skies

Binocs, telescope, naked eye: Ways to view night sky

Summer gives way to fall at 3:05 a.m. Sept. 23. Get out and enjoy the relatively warm nights. We all know they won’t last.Two gas giants highlight the month’s night sky.One, Jupiter, the solar...

DATE: Aug. 27, 2011 | COLUMN: What's up in Durango Skies

Neptune slow, hard to see, but worth a gander

Summer’s southern sky holds numerous deep-space jewels. Three constellations, Scorpius, Sagittarius and Ophiuchus, are loaded with worthy targets, star clusters, nebulae and double stars.Libra,...

DATE: July 23, 2011 | COLUMN: What's up in Durango Skies

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