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Western Slope Skies - Saturn and its Rings

Aug 6, 2021
NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

It’s hard to imagine not knowing about Saturn’s rings. The planet is iconic, and even those least interested in astronomy can still picture it. Yet, for thousands of years, we didn’t know. Early sky watchers saw Saturn with unaided eyes, looking like a rather bright star.


In a drying landscape one thing we can do to halt desertification is to restore small water cycles. What does that mean? It means keeping the water that does fall or comes down through irrigation and streams in local circulation. There are many ways to do this through the way we graze animals, to keeping our ditch water above ground, planting and caring for trees, and restoring soil health. The simple global principal at work here is that in the biosphere, water follows carbon. Where there is more carbon there will be more water.


Galaxies, those enormous accumulations of stars, dust, gas, and other stuff, are a bit like people – they tend to congregate in big groups.

Western Slope Skies - A Wandering Soul in the Asteroid Belt

Apr 2, 2021

Likely you have heard of the asteroid belt, that planetary graveyard between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, where numerous space rocks revolve around the Sun. The asteroids formed early in the Solar System’s development, when pre-planetary bodies (planetesimals) repeatedly collided under Jupiter’s immense gravitation, continually fragmenting into what we see today. You may know some of their names— Ceres, Vesta, Pallas, Juno. You can add one more to your list-- the strange, spud-shaped world of Psyche.

Western Slope Skies - North Pole of an Asteroid

Mar 19, 2021
NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona

After a recent presentation on the OSIRIS-Rex mission to asteroid Bennu, someone asked "How do you define the north pole of an asteroid?" According to the International Astronomical Union, the correct answer is that asteroids do not have north poles!

Western Slope Skies - Fun with Asteroids

Mar 5, 2021
By Mdf at English Wikipedia - Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons., Public Domain,

Do you watch space movies? How many have you seen with the hero’s spaceship travelling a dangerous route through the asteroid belt, bobbing and weaving to miss catastrophic collisions with numerous asteroids in order to escape and save the Solar System! Today, we are going to find out what travelling through the asteroid belt would really look like.

This week we start a 3 part series: No Mud No Lotus.

Western Slope Skies - The Sun Awakens

Feb 19, 2021

When it comes to astronomy, the dark night skies of the Western Slope command most of our attention. It can be easy to forget that the most important astronomical object actually lives in the daytime sky: the Sun!

Western Slope Skies - Traveling with TESS

Feb 5, 2021

A starry night sky sparkles with mysteries, such as whether Earth is the only inhabited planet. Are we alone?

Are our ideas of happiness actually causing part of our suffering?

In this episode we will talk about our beliefs and how they affect our reality. Essentialy our beliefs are what form our experience in this world.

Western Slope Skies - Geology of the Moon

Jan 22, 2021

Step outside on a clear night this week and gaze upward. You’ll see a bright gibbous Moon – or a full Moon on January 28.

We take a sneek peak into being mindful of our emotions, how to to be aware of them and who they turn us into.

Exploring mindful intentions as we enter into the New Year. Intentions are different than resolutions or goals, they are a deep awarness of what keeps us healthy and balanced in every moment.

Western Slope Skies - Mining the Moon

Jan 8, 2021

The Moon is iconic, seen and enjoyed from anywhere on Earth. It is so coveted that the U.S. and the Soviet Union were in a space race to see who could reach the Moon first. In 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were the first to land on its surface. This race inspired the first international space treaty. Dubbed “the Outer Space Treaty,” the 1960s document governed the first international laws about space and forbade any single country from owning celestial bodies, including the Moon. Instead, they were to be enjoyed and studied by all.

Theres no better time then now, to pay attention to why we do things, as we take a look at being mindful of our intentions.

Western Slope Skies - Astronomy Highlights for 2021

Dec 25, 2020

2021 promises to be a great year for watchers of our Western Slope Skies. The New Year will feature two lunar eclipses, Perseid meteors under a dark August sky, several planetary conjunctions, and increasing solar activity.

Softening our opinions can help bring more peace to our lives.


Taking a mindful look into media consumption and it's impacts.


Looking into our relationship with stillness and silence


What does it actually mean to "Settle the Mind"

Looking Inward

Nov 10, 2020

How looking inward can help serve ourselves and others around us.


As evening twilight deepens, look to the east. You’ll see a brilliant red star rising. That star is actually not a star, but the planet Mars. Over the next several weeks, we on Earth will be swinging by Mars on our faster orbit about the Sun, allowing for great views of our planetary neighbor.

Western Slope Skies - Our Galactic Address

Sep 18, 2020
NASA/JPL-Caltech/R. Hurt (SSC/Caltech)

“We are here.” That is the first thing I tell people at a national park visitor center, as I point to our location on a park map. Even if they didn’t ask, hearing it always seems to be a relief.

Western Slope Skies - Constellation Scorpius

Jun 12, 2020
Joyce Tanihara

Go out tonight and look for a constellation that is easy to see at this time of year. Scorpius lies close to the southern horizon. Scorpius is Latin for scorpion and this is a constellation that really looks like its namesake. Yet, as obvious as it appears like an arachnid, the constellation holds mysteries we can’t see.

Have you noticed that brilliant star in the western evening sky over the past few months? That “evening star” is Venus, Earth’s nearest planetary neighbor.

In the last Western Slope Skies episode, we discussed several aspects of astronomy in indigenous North American cultures. Today we focus on the Lakota constellation The Sacred Hoop.

The night sky is mystical to many cultures. Untouchable, seen only part of the day, changing from month to month, yet it clearly has an impact on life on the earth in terms of agriculture, weather changes, and navigation.

Art Trevena/BCAS

If you venture out under clear and dark Western Slope winter skies, you’ll notice a diffuse glow, extending from the northwestern horizon across the zenith to the southeast. This is the winter view of our home galaxy, the Milky Way. While not as bright as the Milky Way we see during summer evenings, the winter Milky Way has a subtle beauty all its own.


Over the past year, how many questions did you ask that went unanswered?