Tom Westre

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”.

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.   

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.

Venus After Sunset

Feb 26, 2020
Venus shines with the Moon in Night Skies
https://pixabay.com/

Welcome to Utah Skies. This past month, we’ve been treated with a spectacular evening show as the bright planet Venus has dominated the western skies after sunset.

Early Morning Planets

Feb 24, 2020
Tom Westre

 

 

During February Venus is easy to spot in the evening sky after the sun sets.

For early risers, three planets are lined up in the eastern sky about one hour before the sunrises.

Mars is the highest, followed by the king of the planets, Jupiter, then closer to the horizon is the famous ringed planet Saturn.

Venus Near the Young Moon and Neptune

Jan 30, 2020
Brocken Inaglory/https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en


Venus has been a prominent bright object in the southwestern skies just after sunset for the past few weeks. 

 

Venus is the third brightest night time object after the Sun and Moon.  

 

Auriga And The Kids

Jan 30, 2020
Sidney Hall

 

 


Back in November, I reported on the rising in the east of the constellation Auriga, a prominent winter constellation that can be seen in the evenings in the Northern Hemisphere. Auriga is a hexagon shaped constellation located just above the easy to spot constellation Orion.  

 

Sirius: Brightest Night Time Star

Jan 2, 2020
Sirius and Pup in the night sky.
NASA, ESA, H. Bond (STScI), and M. Barstow (University of Leicester)

 

 


Of the thousands of stars humans can see at night with our eyes alone, Sirius is the brightest star we can see. 

Sirius is also known as the Dog Star.  It lies at a distance of only 8.6 light years in the constellation Canis Major or the Big Dog. Sirius is the fifth closest star to the Earth and brighter than all of them. 

Moon and Venus Show in Evening Sky

Jan 2, 2020
The Moon and Venus in the night sky.
Abhay Kushwaha, flicker.com

 

 

As the Moon orbits the Earth, the Moon moves eastward away from the Sun in the sky and we see a little more of the sunlit side of the moon each night.  A few days after new moon, the Moon appears as a thin crescent in the western sky just after sunset.   

 

Sun Reaches Record Sunspot Low

Dec 23, 2019
A picture of the Sun with no sunspots.
Tom Westre

Over the past 300 years, astronomers have learned that the Sun goes through periods of high and low solar activity averaging about 11 years from solar minimum to solar maximum. During this period the Sun produces cooler, darker areas on the surface called sunspots which can be the size of the Earth or much larger. 

Sky and Telescope

As the month of November ends the planets Venus, Jupiter, Saturn and the Moon will put on a spectacular show in the southwestern evening sky just after sunset. 

Apollo 12 NASA

November 24 was the 50th anniversary of the landing of Apollo 12, NASA’s 2nd moon-landing.  Apollo 12 landed on the moons Ocean of Storms.   The Lunar Module lander was flown by Pete Conrad and Alan Bean.  The command module pilot Richard Gordon, orbited the moon taking photographs. 

One autumn evening a few years ago, a friend called me describing an object in the night sky to the northeast that caught his attention. This object was twinkling on and off, flashing in different colors and appeared to be shifting position.

Algol - 'The Demon Star'

Oct 28, 2019
Stellarium

During October and November, the constellation of Perseus rises in the evening sky to the northeast after sunset. One of most interesting stars in the fall night sky is Algol, the second brightest star after Mirfak in Perseus.

This Fall Is A Perfect Time To View Saturn

Sep 20, 2019

The night sky is full of wonderful nighttime observing objects.  From galaxies, nebula, star clusters, double stars, comets and planets.  The sky is a wonderful way to spend the evening with a telescope.

Wikipedia

When you look up at a clear, dark night sky without any light pollution, you should be able to see as many as 2,000 or more stars.  That is a small portion of the 200 billion stars that make up our Milky Way Galaxy.  

The Vega Star: The Old - And Future - North Star

Jun 26, 2019
Christophe LEHENAFF

One of the most interesting stars in the summer skies is Vega. Vega is close to us at only 25 light years from the Sun.  It is the second brightest star seen from the Northern Hemisphere.

Summer Solstice - The Longest Day Of The Year

Jun 20, 2019
Wikimedia Commons

Summer officially begins astronomically in Utah on Friday, June 21st, at 9:54 MDT.  The northern hemisphere on the solstice is the longest day of the year.  Dawn comes early and sunsets come late, with short nights and less time to enjoy the night sky.  

Saturn In Retrograde

May 3, 2019
NASA

From the Earth we view the brighter outer planets Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn moving in their orbits around the Sun in an easterly direction.  At times these planets seem to stop in their eastward motion and reverse direction towards the west for a few months before they resume their normal eastward motion   Astronomers call this retrograde motion. 

Vernal Equinox-Full Moon with Tom Westre

Apr 23, 2019
NASA

Tomorrow we wake up to a new season. Spring begins at 3:44 p.m. MDT— the moment of the vernal equinox. It occurs when the Sun crosses Earth’s equator from south to north. We look forward to longer and warmer days. 

Zodiac With Tom Westre

Apr 23, 2019
NASA

One of the exciting adventures of astronomy is to find other planets like the earth orbiting other stars. The first such planet was found in 1992. On March 6, 2009, NASA launched a planet-hunting satellite called Kepler. Its job was to stare at a spot in the sky containing 150,00 stars,  in the Constellation Cygnus, looking for dips in starlight as an orbing planet passed between us and its sun. Kepler collected this data in two missions.