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Charles Hakes
Position: Fort Lewis College

Solstice – the day the sun stands still

Greetings, stargazers. I hope you were in a good location to see the lunar eclipse last month. I saw only clouds, but a friend of mine got to watch the eclipse from the South Pole. That brou...

Explore the features of our nearest celestial neighbor

Greetings, stargazers. The moon is our nearest neighbor in space, but it is often overlooked when stargazing. Many star parties will intentionally avoid evenings when the moon is in the sky....

Spring is galaxy season

Greetings, stargazers. For many amateur astronomers with small telescopes, spring is galaxy season. At any moderately dark site, which includes most of the Four Corners, you can ...

Catalogs can guide your exploration of deep sky objects

Greetings, stargazers. It has been several years since I looked up a phone number in a printed book. But a generation ago, a phone book was an essential tool for anyone with a te...

Gemini and its twins offer much to explore

Greetings, stargazers. Our season of conjunctions and comets ended when Venus and Jupiter passed each other on the morning of Feb. 11. Now, I plan to revisit a few constellations...

In January, Earth moves fastest around the sun

Greetings, stargazers. January is the month that the Earth moves the fastest around the sun. Or looked at from our perspective, the sun moves faster through the sky in January. E...

Jupiter, Saturn to converge in the ‘Great Conjunction’ on Dec. 21

Greetings, stargazers. Unless you have been living under a rock, you have probably heard there will be a “Great Conjunction” between Jupiter and Saturn on Dec. 21. Jupiter and Sa...

Binoculars greatly expand your view of the night sky

Greetings, stargazers. Every couple of years, I write a column about binocular observing because there are lots of things in the sky that benefit from the extra light gathering w...

Close to Earth, Mars to look extra big and bright

Greetings, Stargazers. This is definitely the season for Mars, because this month, Mars will be closer to Earth than at any time in the next 15 years. Mars reaches opp...

Jupiter and Saturn are the stars of September’s night sky

Greetings, Stargazers. September is the month when daylight hours shorten faster than any other month. Even though autumn doesn’t officially begin until the equinox early on the m...

Inside constellation Lyra, scope out a double-double

Greetings, Stargazers. As I write this, we have just finished a much-needed monsoon week. But today the clouds are gone, and the afternoon temperature is back into the 90s. It de...

Region around Milky Way’s core offers many viewing rewards

Greetings, Stargazers. The center of the Milky Way galaxy is in the direction of the constellation Sagittarius. Just after dark, the galaxy core will be rising in the southeaster...