Science

Utah Skies: November Penumbral Eclipse

Nov 25, 2020
Stellarium Planetary App

Mark your calendar for the evening of November 30th. On that evening you will see the November full moon called the Beaver moon or the Frost moon. You can find the moon located in the constellations of Taurus the Bull and Aries the Ram.

Utah Skies: Dragon Crew Headed To ISS

Nov 23, 2020
NASA

The International Space Station is a permanently crewed Earth orbiting station. Over 230 astronauts, cosmonauts and other space visitors from 19 nations have visited the space station.

Utah Skies: Finding Our Galaxy Neighbor Andromeda

Oct 28, 2020
Tom Westre

Now that we are well into Fall, the night sky presents us with a number of interesting objects to observe.

Utah Skies: BepiColoumbo, a Mercury Mission

Oct 16, 2020
By National Aeronautics and Space Administration

On October 20, 2018 BepiColumbo, a planetary mission to the Planet Mercury, was launched by the European Space Agency and the Japan Exploration Agency. It consists of three parts, the Mercury Planetary Orbiter, the Mercury Transfer Module and the Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter that will separate into independent spacecraft upon arriving at Mercury. The transfer Module is an ion thruster that will give the spacecraft propulsion.

A Solution To Restore The Sagebrush Sea Is Cooking In The West

Oct 12, 2020
The Nature Conservancy

The recipe for restoring the West's Sagebrush Sea could involve pasta makers. A project stewing in Idaho and four other western states is testing a new method for replanting sagebrush and other native brunchgrasses.

Utah Skies: Saturn Motionless In The Sky

Oct 6, 2020
NASA Hubble Telescope

This summer, evening sky observers have been treated to two solar system planets, Jupiter and Saturn.

Most of life’s intricacies can be explained by evolution — as organisms encounter new challenges, subsequent generations evolve a­nd become better equipped to survive.

Smart Money Tip: Adjust Your 4O1K

Aug 13, 2020

A 401K is a great tool to help us reach our maximum potential when it comes to retirement savings. It’s important to adjust your 401K each year, both the amount (or percentage of income) you are contributing, and the type of individual funds or investing products to which you are contributing.

The NEOWISE Comet on Utah Skies

Jul 23, 2020
Tom Westre

In 2007 NASA proposed a mission to look for New Earth Objects. The name of the mission was called the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE). In late 2004 NASA selected the Space Dynamics Laboratory at Utah State University to build the telescope for WISE. WISE successfully launched in December of 2009.

Jeff Meldrum is Professor of Anatomy and Anthropology at Idaho State University. He is author of “Sasquatch: Legend Meets Science.” He is a leading expert on Bigfoot or Sasquatch, or the term he prefers: “Relict Hominoid.” He says “...[I]t is one matter to address the theoretical possibility of a relict species of hominoid in North America, and the obligate shift in paradigm to accommodate it, but there must also be something substantial to place within that revised framework.

Summer Solstice Approaching

Jun 18, 2020
NASA Blog

The Sun will appear highest in the sky above Utah and any place in the Northern Hemisphere on Saturday, June 20th at 3:44 pm MDT, known as the Summer Solstice.

Planetary Nebula

Jun 10, 2020
Blaine Dickey

 

When I was a boy one of the first deep sky objects that I observed was Messier 57. I saw it through a three-inch reflecting telescope that my parents gave me for Christmas. Messier 57, commonly called the Ring Nebula, looks very much like a smoke ring projected against the starry background of the sky in the constellation Lyra. The Ring Nebula is part of a group of objects called planetary nebula. 

 

Halley's Comet

Jun 2, 2020

    

Halley’s Comet is the most famous comet in history. It has probably been observed by more people living on the earth than any other comet. It has been periodically appearing in the night sky every 74 to 79 years since 240 BC.

American Astronauts Headed To Space

May 29, 2020
NASA/Space X

In 1961 Alan Shepherd became the first American in space. He made the first flight as part of Project Mercury in a spacecraft called Freedom 7.

Venus, Mercury, And The Moon

May 21, 2020
Stellarium

 

This spring after the sun sets in the west the 2nd planet from the Sun, Venus, has given us a wonderful evening celestial show. Venus at this point in its orbit around the Sun is known as the “evening star”.

The Large Binocular Telescope

May 18, 2020

While visiting my wife’s family in Safford Arizona I learned that a member of her family knew one of the chief engineers at the Large Binocular Telescope and that he was willing to give me a tour of that facility. The Large Binocular Telescope is part of the Mount Graham International Observatory and is located on 10,719 foot Mount Graham near Safford Arizona.

The Discovery Of The Minor Planet Ceres

May 11, 2020
Ceres, the minor planet
NASA Solar

Ceres, a minor planet orbiting the sun between the planets Mars and Jupiter, was discovered on New Year’s Day in 1801 by Giuesppe Piazzi, a Sicilian astronomer.

NASA

Utah’s own Space Dynamics Laboratory is working with NASA to find clues that could give more insight into the big questions about where we come from.

Leo After Sunset

Apr 29, 2020
image of Regulus in night sky
Tom Westre

After sunset this spring the constellation Leo can be seen.

Comets, Comets, Comets

Apr 22, 2020
comet Atlas in sky
Tom Westre

Back in early March Comet Atlas was beginning to take center stage in the world of astronomy as a comet that might evolve into a bright naked eye comet rivaling the planet Venus seen in the west after sunset.   

April Skies

Apr 17, 2020
Celestron Sky Portal App with permission

April is a superb time to watch four of the naked eye planets.

If you have noticed a brilliant gleaming star in the western sky the past few months, then you have probably seen the planet Venus which is the second planet from our Sun. It far outshines any other star in the Sky this month and is positioned high in the western sky in early evening and sets around midnight. Every eight years this same spectacle is seen in about the same place in the evening sky. You only have this month to observe Venus because it will be setting earlier each night until it disappears over the western mountains and then moves quickly to the morning sky.

William Herschel’s Discovery of Uranus

Apr 17, 2020
NASA/JPL-Caltech

For most of the history of mankind there were only five known planets. These included the planets Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. The sixth planet Uranus was unknown until William Herschel observed it with a homemade telescope on the 13th of March in the year 1871. It had been observed several other times previously by other astronomers but it was William Hershel that realized that it was not a fixed star as others had thought.

Venus Meets Up With The Pleiades

Apr 2, 2020
Stellarium Planetarium

During the past month evening sky watchers have enjoyed Venus the “Evening Star” as it dominates the western horizon just after the sun sets.

University of Utah

Scientists at the University of Utah recently received funding to contribute to the fight against the spread of Covid 19.

“This grant is studying mucus and it’s interactions with coronaviruses," said Dr. Jessica Kramer, and you heard right.  She is studying how coronaviruses interact with mucus.

Venus Reaches Greatest Separation From The Sun

Mar 30, 2020
Venus visible in the night sky
Cache Valley Astronomical Society

This spring, sky watchers have enjoyed the evening show provided by the 2nd planet from the Sun, Venus. It’s easy to spot in the western sky, as the “evening star," after the sun sets.

Zoonosis, Bats, And COVID-19: A Green Thumb Commentary

Mar 23, 2020
A medical mask and latex examination gloves
pixabay.com

At the time this commentary was prepared, media reports had traced the cause of the outbreak back to  Horseshoe bats.

Matt Affolter / Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

No one can predict when, where, and how big the next earthquake might be, but earthquake-prone places like California and Japan have installed systems that can warn of ground-shaking a few seconds in advance.  These systems, known as “earthquake early warning systems,” exploit the different waves produced by earthquakes.

Jupiter, Saturn, Mars, And Moon Conjunction

Mar 18, 2020
A graphic showing the conjunction of Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and the Moon.
Celestron Sky Portal App

 

A beautiful conjunction will occur tomorrow morning March 18th at 6:00 AM in the Southeastern skies of Utah. The crescent moon will be within a few degrees of the planets Jupiter and Mars. Not to be left out is Saturn situated just 6 degrees to the east. It is not often that you see these four celestial objects so closely associated together in the sky. It is definitely worth taking a look. Jupiter, Mars, and the moon should be visible together in a pair of binoculars.

Leo The Lion

Mar 12, 2020
Leo the Lion constellation
Sky Portal

Leo the Lion is one of the most recognized constellations in the Sky. It is now rising in the East in the early evening and marks a transition between the winter and spring seasons. The shape of the constellation Leo forms a pattern that resembles a Lion. Leo also contains an easy to see asterism that looks like a hook or a backward question mark.

Eating Crow: The Gray Crown Rosy Finch

Mar 10, 2020
A gray crown rosy finch in the snow
Jack Binch

Eating the “humble crow”! Not literally- I hear they are rather tough and stringy. In my last reading titled “Wren Love”, I was confused by a flock of birds acting much like canyon wrens, but exhibiting a most unusual communal behavior. A later visit to the same ice covered cliff, only this time with optics, revealed them to be the gray crown rosy finch. I apologize for my carelessness!

As recompense, I must give this beautiful finch its due and to repay you, dear listener!

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