Hal Bidlack

Looking Up: Mars Meets The Moon

Feb 17, 2020
EARTH & SKY / earthsky.org

Mars does a disappearing act in the early morning sky on February 18. But not to worry, it's just hiding behind the moon, as Hal explains on this week's Looking Up.

We’ve talked before about how the planets revolve around the Sun in pretty much a flat plane that is roughly circular. And remember too that the moons going around the planets in the Solar System are also going around in that same basic plane. That means that every now and then, from a particular observer’s point of view, planets and moons can seem to get very close to each other, and in fact, pass one in front of the other. And that’s what’s going to happen in the Southern Colorado sky tomorrow morning in the wee hours.

Looking Up: Seeing Double

Feb 10, 2020
public domain / wikimedia commons

This week on Looking up Hal informs us about a star named Porrima. But is it one star or two?

High in the east in the Colorado night sky is the very interesting star Porrima. Or rather, I should say stars, because there are actually two stars orbiting each other, only 38 ly away. Or maybe I should just say “star” because whether you see one or two stars through a telescope depends on what year it is.

Looking Up: Free Streaming Featuring Major Stars

Feb 3, 2020
public domain / earthsky.org

This week on Looking Up Hal grabs a celestial lion by the tail.

One of my favorite constellations is Leo the Lion, now rising in the east after sunset. Leo has lots of interesting stars, and it also actually looks a bit like what it is supposed to be, a lion.

Looking Up: Together Forever

Jan 20, 2020
User:AugPi / wikimedia commons

This week on Looking Up Hal doubles our pleasure and doubles our fun by revealing some of the secrets of the Gemini Twins.

Did you ever wish you had a twin brother or sister? Someone to be with and to talk to all the time? How about to spend all eternity with in the Colorado night sky? If you said yes to the latter, you may well be talking about the wonderful constellation of Gemini soaring in the Colorado night sky now through May.

Looking Up: A River Runs Through It

Jan 13, 2020
Mario Cogo (Galax Lux) / nasa.gov

This week's Looking Up has a certain flow to it as Hal talks about the river constellation.

There are lots of constellations up in the Colorado night sky all year round, with 88 total constellations all told. Today I want to tell you about one you may never have heard of, but is low in the Colorado sky right now, the river constellation, formally known as Eridanus.

Looking Up: (We Long To Be) Close To You

Jan 6, 2020
following Duoduoduo's advice, vector image: Gothika / wikimedia commons

Fortunately, our very own star won't be falling down from the sky anytime soon. However, we are the closest to ol' Sol right now than at any other point of our yearly path around the sun, as we learn on Looking Up this week.

Well, we are now in the deep, dark, days of winter. The holidays are behind us, and we’re still about a month away from having a groundhog predict when Spring will arrive. And so, with the cold winter winds blowing past you, let me ask, were you a bit warmer yesterday?

Looking Up: Just The Cold Hard Facts

Dec 23, 2019
Duke Marsh / earthsky.org

This week on Looking Up Hal gets around to telling us about an asterism visible in the night sky this time of year - the Winter Circle.

If you are a weather wimp, like I am, you prefer warm weather. That point of view is a bit unfortunate for astronomers, because the winter night sky seen here in Colorado is in many ways far more beautiful and interesting than what we see when it’s warm outside.

M. Procell

Yes, the darkest days are still ahead but spring can't be too far behind as we learn on Looking Up this week.

We’ve talked before about how the Earth is tilted on its axis, and that tilt gives us seasons and days of varying length, in terms of how many hours of Sun and darkness we have.

Looking Up: It's A Wonderful Light

Dec 9, 2019
JV Noriega / earthsky.org

This week on Looking Up Hal informs us about a beautiful cosmic conjunction in our evening sky.

There are things in our Colorado night sky that are really interesting, and there are things that are really beautiful to look at, and there are some things that are both. For the next few days, we get both!

Looking Up: It's All In The Point Of View

Dec 2, 2019
Torsten Bronger / wikimedia commons

This week on Looking Up Hal speaks of the star Furud, which means "the solitary one".

I’m sometimes asked how I pick what objects in the Colorado night sky to talk about. Sometimes I pick things that are beautiful and other times I pick things that are inherently interesting, and sometimes it’s both. And then there is today’s topic, the star Furud.

Farmakopoulos Antonis / nasa.gov

This week on Looking Up we are California Nebula dreamin'.

We humans like to find order in chaos, and we have a trait, called Pareidolia, which leads us to try to see patterns in, well, lots of things. That’s why we think we see a man in the Moon, and why some folks thought they saw a face on Mars.

Looking Up: Happy 250th!

Nov 11, 2019
public domain / https://pxhere.com/en/photo/1552835

This week Looking Up reaches a milestone episode.

For some reason that I’m sure sociologists and anthropologists fully understand, humans tend to like things in nice round numbers, or at least I do. And so, the topic of this week’s episode of Looking Up is, well, Looking Up, as we’ve reached the 250th edition of our little astronomy show.

Looking Up: Mercury In Transition

Nov 4, 2019

The planet Mercury will transit the sun on November 11th, and you're invited to the party!

Today I want to invite you to a very special party here at KRCC, coming up a week from today. It’s a very special event that rarely happens, and if you miss this one, you’ll have to wait years to see it again. I’m talking about the transit of the planet Mercury across the face of the Sun!

Looking Up: Knee High To A Queen

Oct 21, 2019
chaouki / Flickr: cassiopeia / wikipedia.org

This week on Looking Up Hal kneels at the throne of Cassiopeia in order to pay homage to the star Ruchbah.

Today I’d like to tell you about an interesting star, high in the Colorado night sky right now, the star Ruchbah. Ruchbah is the 4th brightest star in the northern constellation of Cassiopeia. In Arabic, Ruchbah means “the knee” which makes sense, given that Cassiopeia is supposed to be a queen sitting on her throne.

Looking Up: Backup Is Just A Wobble Away

Oct 14, 2019
JA Galán Baho / wikimedia commons

This week on Looking Up Hal goes to Plan B, which is always good to have if you're heading into outer space.

I don’t know about you, but I like to have backups for things in my life. I carry an extra pen, and I like to have a backup plan if I’m going out. So, it seems reasonable that we have a backup north star, or pole star.

public domain / wikimedia.org

This week on Looking Up we go on a planet hunt with Hal.

How many of the 8 planets can you see? (sorry, Pluto fans, there are 8). I admit, it is a bit of a trick question. But the month of October is an especially great month for planet watching, in which you can see SIX of the 8 planets, though you’ll need a telescope to see some of them.

Looking Up: Tilt A Whirld

Sep 23, 2019
wikimedia commons

Happy Autumnal Equinox from Looking Up!

Today marks the September Equinox. Most folks have heard of the two equinox events we have every year, the beginning of spring, with the Spring Equinox in March, and the Fall Equinox that falls in September. And today’s the big day. So, what does that actually mean?

Looking Up: Dolphin Dreams

Sep 16, 2019
Jimmy Westlake (Colorado Mountain College) / nasa.gov

On Looking Up this week we hear about a diamond encrusted dolphin visible in the late summer skies above Colorado.

Quite often on these broadcasts, I talk about things that are really big. Heck, the universe is pretty large, so it makes sense that lots of big and cool things are out there. But today I want to talk with you about one of the tiniest of the constellations, Delphinus the Dolphin.

Looking Up: A Not So Tiny Dancer

Sep 9, 2019
NASA, ESA and J. Olmsted (STScI) / nasa.gov

Tonight's the night for a tiny dot of light to dance across the sky in full opposition of the sun, as we learn on Looking Up.

Tonight is a special night for a tiny dot of light, and today’s episode could be titled “far out,” because the dot of light I want to tell you about is the magnificent planet Neptune.

Looking Up: Star Hunt

Sep 2, 2019
Online Star Register / https://osr.org/blog/astronomy/alpha-gruis/

This week on Looking Up Hal takes us on a star safari to search for possibly the southern most star visible from the Colorado sky.

Do you feel like going on a bit of a star hunt? If so, pay attention as I tell you about the elusive star Al Nair, currently low in the SW sky.

Looking Up: The Young And The Restless

Aug 19, 2019
Restoration by Adam Cuerden / U.S. Public Domain

This week on Looking Up we learn about a lonely star passing through our galaxy.

I’m going to talk extra fast today to tell you about an extra-fast star in the Colorado sky right now, Gamma Piscium, the second brightest star in Pisces the fish.

Expedition 28 crew - ISS / nasa.gov

This week on Looking Up Hal reminds us it's time once again for the Perseid meteor shower.

It’s time to revisit one of the best meteor showers of the year, the Perseids. Every mid-August the debris left behind by Comet Swift-Tuttle gets smacked into by the Earth as we orbit the Sun.

Looking Up: Too Hot To Handle?

Aug 5, 2019
public domain

This week on Looking Up Hal zooms in on a star by the name of Nunki. 

There is a fun star in the Colorado sky right now that is pretty neat, the star Nunki, known technically as Sigma Sagitarii. It makes up part of the “teapot’s handle” in Sagittarius and is located below and to the right of the much brighter Saturn.

NASA/JPL / nasa.gov

This week on Looking Up we wrap up our month long series on the moon and the 50th anniversary of the Apollo missions.

If I asked you to guess where you can take a walk and know that your footprints will last a million years or more, what would you guess?


This week on Looking Up we learn a bit about the missions that followed Apollo 11.

We’ve talked a great deal about the Apollo 11 moon landing this month, which is appropriate, given that the 50th anniversary of the landing was just a couple of days ago. But there were 6 more Apollo missions, and they tend to be forgotten by the public.

Looking Up: Your Fob Is Fabber

Jul 15, 2019

If you have no memory of the Apollo lunar missions it's ok. Even the computers back then didn't have much memory as we learn on this week's Looking Up. 

Next Saturday marks the official 50th anniversary of our first Moon landing, Apollo 11.

Looking Up: A Small Step And A Giant Leap...

Jul 1, 2019
NASA / nasa.gov

This week on Looking Up Hal and Bruce begin a month long salute to the 50th anniversary of the Apollo moon landing.

This July 20th will mark fifty years since Neil Armstrong took his famous first step on to the surface of the Moon. In honor of that remarkable achievement, all this month Bruce and I are going to focus on topics related to the Moon and our visits there.

Helio C. Vital / earthsky.org

This week on Looking Up Hal cues us in on a sweet M&M connection in the evening sky.

If you have a flat horizon to the west, not necessarily an easy thing to find in Southern Colorado, I urge you to take a look tonight just after sunset, and for the next few nights, to see a beautiful cosmic dance of two planets, Mars and Mercury.

Looking Up: Making The Most Of Opportunity

Jun 10, 2019
NASA/JPL-Caltech / nasa.gov

Opportunity is dead. Long live Opportunity!

Today, June 10th, is a somewhat sad yet very satisfying anniversary. You see it was a year ago today that the good folks at NASA were last able to talk to a plucky little robot named Opportunity on the surface of Mars.

Looking Up: All Aboard The Polar Express

Jun 3, 2019
NASA/JPL-Caltech / nasa.gov

After a winter retreat, the king of the planets, at least in this solar system, is back in our night sky. Hal tells us more on this week's episode of Looking Up...

Alright, I admit it – sometimes I get a wee bit technical and detailed in these shows, and so this week I want to answer the question many of you may have in mind right now – what the heck is that really bright star in the southeast sky?