Looking Up

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.

Looking Up: Spinning Under Control

Nov 25, 2019
NASA, Mysid / nasa.gov / public domain / wikimedia commons

This week on Looking Up Bruce Bookout sets his sights on the Earth's precession.

During a recent 80’s musical flashback, I wondered about a fundamental part of our movement in the universe.  It is well understood that our spherical earth spins on its axis providing the basic unit of time defined as a day.  That spin establishes an axis of rotation that we further define by having poles on the surface of the earth; in the north and south.  And like a top spinning in space, the Earth wobbles, or more precisely “precesses”.

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: The Ages Of Aquarius

Oct 28, 2019
public domain / Photo via <a href="https://www.goodfreephotos.com/">Good Free Photos</a>

Bruce Bookout steers this week's episode of Looking Up and guides us to the constellation of Aquarius.

Constellations are fickle things.  Defining what shape you see and what that means is all derivative of your culture and what that pattern appears to be.  We call this pareidolia; the tendency to interpret a vague stimulus as something known to the observer, such as seeing shapes in clouds or seeing faces on Mars. 

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: Scooting Off To Scutum

Sep 30, 2019
Johannes Hevelius [Public domain] / wikimedia commons

This week on Looking Up we are 'shielded' from ignorance about the constellation Scutum, thanks to Bruce Bookout.

The night sky contains many odd objects besides the menagerie of strange creatures.  This time of year, in our southwestern sky, you will find a “shield” of stars. The shield is the constellation Scutum.

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: That's Nice, But Now Back To Me...

Aug 26, 2019
Original image by Niko Lang / wikimedia commons

This week on Looking Up we learn how a world view did change. The only destruction talked about is that of Ptolomy's geocentric system. Count yourself in...

Ever consider yourself central to a discussion? We humans for many centuries considered ourselves the center of the discussion, literally the center of everything.  As a model for the cosmos we called that geo-centralism – the placement of the earth in the middle of it all. 

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.

The Music Of Our Spheres

Jul 11, 2019

What does Space sound like? As an astronomer, I could tell you about interplanetary gas, magnetic fields and the physics of waves propagating through them both. But that's really not the answer that matters as we cross the 50-year threshold of an epoch-making walk on the Moon. This month marks an anniversary that asks us to reflect on the profound impact the Apollo mission left on human culture.

public domain / wikimedia.org / creative commons

This week on Looking Up our month long tribute to the 50th anniversary of the Apollo missions continues with Bruce providing insight on how the program came to be named.

In July 1960 NASA was preparing to implement its long-range plan beyond Project Mercury and to introduce a manned circumlunar mission project, unnamed at that time, at the NASA/Industry Program Plans Conference in Washington DC.

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.

Looking Up: A Celestial Object By Any Other Name...

Jun 24, 2019
NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA) / nasa.gov

Would any given astronomical object still look as cool if it had a different name? Bruce Bookout delves into that very subject on this week's Looking Up.

I was once asked at a local star party; how do we know the names of things in the sky?  The answer is simple – someone named it. 

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?

Looking Up: South Side Of The Sky

May 20, 2019
B. Saxton (NRAO/AUI/NSF) / earthsky.org

This week on Looking Up we're bound for a star that's 50 light years from home.

Deep in our southern skies, in the constellation Centarus lies a dead star 50 light-years away from the Earth. V886 Centauri is at first glance an ordinary white dwarf. But it is more than it appears.

Looking Up: Small Galaxy - It's What's For Dinner

May 13, 2019
Roberto Colombari / nasa.gov

Perhaps all that 'core training' Omega Centauri did in the past really paid off. It may very well be all that's left of a small galaxy that collided with the Milky Way a long, long time ago. That's the story Hal has for us on this week's Looking Up.

Today I’m going to tell you about a wonderful object in the southern Colorado sky, the amazing Omega Centauri! It isn’t easy to find, and you will have to have a very flat southern horizon to spot this elusive object.