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Black Canyon Astronomical Society

  • You may fondly remember the classic Eighties science program Cosmos, narrated by the late great astrophysicist Carl Sagan. In the episode “The Shores of the Cosmic Ocean”, he famously uttered “we’re made of star stuff”. We are the products of nucleosynthesis, a set of processes that created the chemical elements, the building blocks of all we see and are.
  • Imagine being a poor 13-year old boy living in France in 1744 and observing a 6-tailed comet in the daytime. What aspirations might that have generated in a teenager?
  • The name Milky Way means two things: the star-packed photogenic river of stars across sky for one. It also refers to the hundreds of billions of stars that make up our galaxy. No matter where you look in the Western Slope sky, every star is part of our galaxy.
  • Comets, once considered portents of doom, have long puzzled us. They move rapidly against the starry background. They grow tails, which may explain why the ancient Greeks called them “hairy stars.” Their brightness and even their exact paths can be hard to predict. So, what are these mysterious visitors that sometimes appear in our sky?
  • Maybe you’ve noticed the bright red “star” hovering high in the southern sky thiswinter. Maybe you’ve noticed it shining with a seemingly steadier light than otherstars in the night sky. Maybe you’ve even noticed it changing position relative tothe constellations. These observations reveal that this object is not a star, butrather the fourth planet from the Sun: Mars.
  • The vast universe that holds such mesmerizing beauty gives the mind something to contemplate as we look up at the night sky. Do you have a favorite star that you love to look at? Do you ever wonder how that special star came to be? Our amazing universe holds the elements that make up our very existence through the birth and death of stars.
  • 2023 is almost here, and astronomically a lot will be happening. The coming year features a “ring-of-fire” eclipse, meteor showers under dark skies, high solar activity, auroras, eye-catching planetary conjunctions, a possibly bright comet, and important milestones in space science.
  • In the very early hours of November 8, the second total lunar eclipse of 2022 will be visible from Western Colorado.
  • This month is a great time to view Jupiter, because this 86,000 mile-wide, giant planet is visible nearly all night long.
  • What does fish food have in common with methane flaring? More than you’d think, according to a new study published in the journal Nature. KZMU’s Justin Higginbottom spoke with a researcher about a novel use for methane in the West. Plus, we listen back to a conversation with Park Ranger Paul Zaenger, referred to affectionately as the ambassador for the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. He retired in October after 40 years at the national park service.