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Charles Hakes
Position: Fort Lewis College

Scorpius’ stars put sting in summer sky

Greetings, stargazers. The late afternoon monsoon clouds finally parted and made for a few good observing evenings recently. Unfortunately for me, a couple of those nights were ...

New Horizons will deliver best view of Pluto

Greetings, stargazers. I hope you enjoyed the recent planetary conjunction in the western sky. From our perspective, Venus and Jupiter are now slowly separating from each other ...

Don’t forget to look up at our nightly sky

Greetings, stargazers. Thanks for reading my first Thursday column. Although the nights are very short as we approach the summer solstice, there still are lots of things to see a...

If clouds part, prepare to see galaxies, planets

Greetings, stargazers. If the clouds ever dissipate, this should be a great month for planets and galaxies. Venus, Jupiter and Saturn are visible, and they are great markers for...

Treasures hide inside the faint Coma Berenices

Greetings, stargazers. I hope you have been having better clear-sky observing opportunities than me. Recently, my free evenings have been appallingly coincident with overcast sk...

Aim your green laser with care

Greetings, stargazers. I should warn the reader now that I dislike daylight saving time. Now that we are past the equinox, the sun is north of the equator, warmer w...

Why isn’t Jupiter much brighter than Venus?

Greetings, stargazers. Beside the moon, the three brightest objects in the sky are all visible right now. Venus in the west, Jupiter in the east and Sirius, the only one that is...

Binoculars can illuminate comet Lovejoy

Greetings, stargazers. If you haven’t seen a comet yet, this is your chance. Comet C/2014 Q2 (Lovejoy) is now a dim naked-eye object. If you are not looking closely, it could be...

Familiar Orion offers much to contemplate

Greetings, stargazers. Perhaps the most recognizable constellation in the winter sky is Orion. Many people unfamiliar with the night sky can at least recognize the three stars o...

Galilean moons of Jupiter offer regular eclipses

Greetings, stargazers. I hope you enjoyed the recent great pictures from comet Churyumov–Gerasimenko (or 67P for short) as much as I did. Launched in 2004 by the European Space ...

LED lights save energy but add light to night sky

Greetings, stargazers. A very common question you may have asked or you might hear from a child is: “Why is the sky blue?” An excellent question that goes right along with: “Why...

In October, take a peek at Uranus and two eclipses

Greetings, stargazers. Ancient astronomers knew of five “wanderers” in the sky. These five planets – Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn – are all very bright, and, obvious...