Jimmy Westlake columns


Westlake: Comet Catalina's pre-dawn performance

Formally named C/2013 US10, Comet Catalina comes to us from the distant Oort comet cloud that surrounds our solar system. Several million years ago, some unknown disturbance, such as a passing star, nudged C/2013 US10 into a trajectory that would take it into the inner solar system for the first time.

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Jimmy Westlake: Auriga, the Charioteer

What’s that flashy, golden star hovering over the northeastern mountains as darkness falls in mid-November? It’s Capella, the third brightest star visible in Colorado skies and the brightest star in our constellation of Auriga, the Charioteer.

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Jimmy Westlake: Go fishing for Pisces this month

The patch of the sky that appears overhead about 8 p.m. in early November is informally known as the “Celestial Sea.” That’s because it is home to all sorts of watery constellations, including the Dolphin, the Sea Goat, the Whale, the River, the Water Carrier and the Southern Fish, just to name a few.

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Jimmy Westlake: Watch for Taurid fireballs this week

Don’t be surprised if you see a blazing fireball or two streaking across the heavens during the early evening this week.

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Jimmy Westlake: A guided tour of the Halloween sky

This Halloween, while you are out trick-or-treating, take a moment to look up at the stars overhead.

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Jimmy Westlake: Welcome to Milkdromeda

Located at the staggering distance of two-million light years, Andromeda’s galaxy is the most distant object easily visible to the unaided human eye.

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.