Jimmy Westlake columns


Celestial News: Catch the Southern Fish this month

Shining brightly in the southern sky as darkness falls is one of autumn’s few bright stars, a blue gem named Fomalhaut (pronounced FOAM-a-low).

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Jimmy Westlake: Planets parade in morning sky

If you are an early riser, you might have noticed several bright objects in the pre-dawn sky and wondered what they are.

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Jimmy Westlake: Three defunct star patterns of fall

In 1929, the International Astronomical Union, or the IAU, sat down to weed through the hundreds of constellations that had been invented over the centuries, and when the smoke cleared, 88 star patterns remained.

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Jimmy Westlake: Total eclipse to darken the moon Sunday

The student members of the Colorado Mountain College SKY Club and I, along with Steamboat Today, would like to invite you and your family out to the CMC campus next Sunday evening for a special “Eclipse Watch” program.

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Jimmy Westlake: The Equinox and the Harvest Moon

Watch for that big ol’ Harvest Moon rising over the eastern mountains just as the sun sinks below the western mountains on Sept. 27.

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Jimmy Westlake: Baseball tonight at Pegasus Park

Hello sports fans. Did you know that there’s a baseball game tonight up in the stars? It’s true.

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Jimmy Westlake: The Eyes of the Dragon

Peering at us from out of the darkness on late summer evenings are the twinkling eyes of Draco, the Dragon.

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Jimmy Westlake: Cassiopeia ushers in autumn

One of the first star patterns to catch your eye in the late summer and early fall is a distinctive group of 5 bright stars in the northeastern sky that forms the shape of a letter “W.”

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Jimmy Westlake: Spot the two giants of summer

Two very large constellations, Ophiuchus, the Serpent Bearer, and Hercules, the Strong Man, take up a large chunk of our late summer sky. We see them standing head to head, high up in the southern sky as darkness falls.

Jimmy Westlake: Exploring the constellation Perseus

With the annual Perseid meteor shower rising to its peak activity this week, it’s a good time to introduce you to the constellation that gives this delightful shower of shooting stars its name.

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Jimmy Westlake: Don’t miss the Perseid meteor shower

The annual Perseid meteor shower is cranking up and is expected to peak around 2 a.m. MDT Thursday, Aug. 13.

Jimmy Westlake: Friday’s full moon — blue or not?

You’ll have an opportunity to witness an unusual “blue moon” this month but don’t expect to go outside and literally see a blue-colored moon staring back at you. The term “blue moon” has an unusual and uncertain history, but it certainly does not refer to the actual spectrum of the moon.

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Jimmy Westlake: Our first look at Pluto

The date was July 14, 1965. The entire world held its collective breath as NASA’s Mariner 4 spacecraft sailed past the red planet Mars at close range. Human exploration of our solar system via robot emissary had begun.

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Celestial News: See the magnificent Milky Way

Contrary to what the ancient Romans believed, the Milky Way is not made from the milk of queen goddess Juno, but is the combined light of billions of distant suns unresolved by the human eye. If you look through a pair of binoculars and sweep slowly across the Milky Way, you will rediscover what Galileo did in 1610 — a multitude of faint stars.

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Jimmy Westlake: You’re invited to the "Stagecoach Star Party”

You are invited to join other astronomy enthusiasts from around the community for the Stagecoach Star Party at 9 p.m. Friday, July 10, at the Morrison Cove boat ramp on the southshore side of Stagecoach State Park, weather permitting.