2013 Cosmic Calendars are here!

It’s that time of year again.  CMC professor and astrophotographer Jimmy Westlake has created another edition of his annual Cosmic Calendar.  The 2013 version, titled the “Year of the Comet,” is now available for purchase. Chock full of Westlake’s unique and beautiful celestial images, the calendar also keeps you alerted to the cosmic highlights of… Continue reading 2013 Cosmic Calendars are here!

CMC SKY Club annual fundraising raffle arrives March 23rd!

Black holes, dark energy, telescopes ( and free cookies too…..) The student astronomy club at the Alpine Campus, the SKY Club, is having its annual fundraising raffle. The prize is a beautiful matted and framed photograph of “Orion’s Nebula,” taken by Jimmy Westlake through his 11-inch Celestron telescope.  Read on if you’re interested in supporting… Continue reading CMC SKY Club annual fundraising raffle arrives March 23rd!

Celestial News: Monday’s Total Lunar Eclipse

Our final full moon of autumn occurs just before dawn on Tuesday December 21, 2010. This full moon traditionally is called the Long Night’s Full Moon because it falls close to the time of the winter solstice when the days are short and the nights are, indeed, very long.  Our winter solstice — the moment… Continue reading Celestial News: Monday’s Total Lunar Eclipse

Celestial News: Behold the Charioteer

Third brightest star in Colorado shows itself What’s that flashy, golden star hovering over the northeastern mountains as darkness falls in mid-November?  It’s Capella, the third brightest star visible in Colorado skies and the brightest star in the constellation of Auriga, the Charioteer. Auriga represents the mythological character Erichthonius who was born lame and invented… Continue reading Celestial News: Behold the Charioteer

Celestial News: Whale Watching

Cetus constellation rises in the southeastern sky Wedged in between the bright star Fomalhaut to the south and the glittering Pleiades star cluster to the east is the huge, lumbering constellation of Cetus, the Whale.  It ranks fourth in overall size among the 88 official constellations; only Hydra, Ursa Major, and Virgo cover more area… Continue reading Celestial News: Whale Watching

Celestial News: Halloween Fireballs

Don’t be surprised if you see a blazing fireball or two streaking across the heavens while you are out trick-or-treating this weekend.  There’s no reason for alarm.  It’s just the annual Taurid meteor showers reaching their peak of activity. The Taurid meteors are so named because they seem to spring outward from the stars of… Continue reading Celestial News: Halloween Fireballs

Celestial News: Jupiter and Uranus Reach Opposition

After the lovely “evening star” Venus follows the Sun down to the western horizon on cool September evenings, another dazzling planet rises in the east to take her place.  It is the giant planet Jupiter, largest of the planets in our solar system and second only to Venus in dazzling brightness.  Jupiter will dominate our… Continue reading Celestial News: Jupiter and Uranus Reach Opposition

Celestial News: A Great Year for the Perseids

By Jimmy Westlake, professor of physical science, Colorado Mountain College in Steamboat The annual Perseid meteor shower is now underway and is expected to peak on Thursday August 12.  While some meteor showers can disappoint because of slower than expected activity, the Perseid meteor shower is the “old faithful” of meteor showers because it dependably… Continue reading Celestial News: A Great Year for the Perseids

Celestial News: The Milky Way Shines Bright

By Jimmy Westlake, professor of physical science, Colorado Mountain College in Steamboat When the bright moon is not in the sky, the dark summer night reveals one of its most spectacular treasures, the soft, misty glow of the Via Lactea, or, the Milky Way.   Contrary to what the ancient Romans believed, the Milky Way is… Continue reading Celestial News: The Milky Way Shines Bright

Celestial News: Season of the Scorpion

By Jimmy Westlake, professor of physical science, Alpine Campus There aren’t many constellations that resemble the objects or creatures for which they are named.  Scorpius, the Scorpion, is a delightful example of one that does.  The celestial scorpion scampers across our southern sky on summer evenings, so this month is prime time for scorpion hunting.