Tony Webster

  In a recent op-ed in the New York Times, titled “America’s Brutal Racial History Is Written All Over Our Genes,” Libby Copeland writes: “The debate around race consuming America right now is coinciding with a technological phenomenon — at-home genetic testing kits — revealing many of us are not who we thought we were. Some customers of the major DNA testing companies, which collectively have sold 37 million of these kits, are getting results that surprise them.” We talked with Libby Copeland, author of The Lost Family: How DNA Testing Is Upending Who We Are, last year. The book is coming out soon in paperback. We’ll check back in with Libby Copeland today.

Utah Skies: Telescopes And The Future

Feb 24, 2021
Bruce Horrocks

In the summer of 1968, my father and I went to a neighbor’s house to look through a new telescope he had just purchased. I was eight-years-old and with the United States in the heat of the space race, I was fascinated with both rockets and telescopes. I remember that night looking though this new telescope and seeing the planet Saturn with it rings for the first time in my life. I was hooked, and I knew right then what I wanted for Christmas that year and thankfully Santa placed a new Sears telescope under the tree for me and my father to enjoy for many years to come.

Utah Skies: Clyde Tombaugh and Pluto

Feb 23, 2021
Dell Vance

Clyde Tombaugh, as a young man, built his own Telescopes and made sketches of Mars and Jupiter. In 1929 he sent his sketches to the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona. The staff was impressed with his work and offered him a job as a researcher on a project to find Planet X.

Utah Skies: Proxima Centauri Radio Waves?

Feb 13, 2021
NASA Hubble Space Telescope

Over the last twenty years or so, astronomers have detected over 4,000 planets orbiting other star systems. Our Milky Way galaxy may have billions of planets orbiting other stars. It’s a goal to find earth-sized planets orbiting their stars in what is called the habitable zone, or that distance from their parent star where any water on the planet is liquid. 

Utah Skies: Three Mars Missions In February

Feb 13, 2021

Mars has been the center for the search for life in our solar system since the first US Viking lander in 1976. Since that time dozens of unmanned missions have been sent to Mars by the US or Russia as orbiters, landers or rovers.

Utah Skies: Orion

Jan 26, 2021

The constellation Orion is certainly one of the most recognized objects in the winter sky. In the middle star that forms the sword of Orion, we find the mighty Orion Nebula. Charles Messier included this in his catalog of deep space objects, and it is known as M42.

Utah Skies: The Moon, Mars, Uranus

Jan 26, 2021
Stellarium App

On Jan. 5 the planet Mars entered the small constellation of Aries the Ram. Mars is bright and easy to locate in the evening skies. Mars will continue to move eastward during January. 

Courtesy of Sheri Quinn

Former USU Physics Professor and co-founder of the Small Satellite Conference at Utah State University, Dr. Raymond Gilbert Moore, passed away December 28, 2020 in Monument, Colorado at the age of 92. His aerospace career spanned the beginning of the U.S. Space Program in the late 1940s through the current space age. 

Utah Skies: The Moon, Jupiter And Mercury

Jan 13, 2021
Stellarium Planetarium App

During the past few months sky watchers have been treated with an evening planetary show compliments of Jupiter and Saturn. Because Saturn is farther away from Jupiter, Jupiter’s orbit is

Utah Skies: Orion In January

Jan 13, 2021
Stellarium App

Orion is one of the brightest constellations in the January skies. It represents a famous hunter who often bragged about his hunting prowess. Mother Earth became concerned about Orion’s destroying all the predators so she placed a giant scorpion with heavy armor for protection near Orion. The giant scorpion was able to sting Orion causing his death. The gods immortalized Orion and placed him among the stars. The scorpion was also placed among the stars, but only to be seen six months later in summer skies. 

Utah Skies: The Geminid Meteor Shower

Dec 9, 2020
Celestron Sky Portal App, permission to use by Celestron

The best meteor shower of the year will occur this week on Sunday evening. Up to 120 meteors per hour may be observed. The Geminid meteor shower is known to have some fireballs that are much brighter than the average meteor and leave long trails that linger in the sky.

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

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

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


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.


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.