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Articles written by Dale Hawkins

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A checkmark on the bucket list

Seeing a total solar eclipse never was on my Bucket List. Yet, when I was twelve years old, I remember visiting a travel agent to discuss the possibility of attending such an event in Nova Scotia....

 

Total Solar Eclipse and other astronomical events

Most of you have heard about the unusual total solar eclipse that is about to cross America on August 21st. From what I've heard, there's a great deal of misunderstanding out there. Many are confusing...

 

The year of 'Mission Ends'

Last month I focused our eyes on the many exciting manned space activities underway this year. However, there's a great deal of action in the unmanned space arena, as well. Space exploration is a...

 

The year ahead in space

This winter has been unusually brutal for Tehachapi astronomers (and less than optimal for local pilots). I was happy to seize any opportunity for a little binocular time with the Orion Nebula and...

 

Supermoons on the rise

I'm sure most of you witnessed the brighter-than-average moon in mid-October. Many of you also heard talk of the supermoon phenomenon. I assure you that it isn't a contrivance of DC Comics; it's for...

 

Juno survives its first Jovian Orbit

On the Fourth of July, NASA/JPL's Juno spacecraft arrived at Jupiter. It's the first probe dedicated to the study of the planet itself: its atmosphere, its internal structure; and of particular...

 

Star Trek is Alive and Well at 50

On September 8th, the venerable TV series Star Trek will officially turn 50. While a number of old "properties" have been resurrected from the dust bins lately, Star Trek never really died. When it...

 

It's Meteor Season

August is often called, "Meteor Month," because some of the best meteor showers of the year occur in August. But why should that be? What is it about the earth's orbit that causes a flood of meteors...

 

Five Years After the Shuttle

President Obama is a lame duck. That means that his primary focus is no longer on bold plans for the future, but on what his administration has accomplished over the last eight years – his legacy. M...

 
 By Dale Hawkins    Community    May 28, 2016

Juno on Final Approach to Jupiter

Launched almost five years ago, the NASA/JPL spacecraft Juno will arrive at Jupiter on July 4th to help us celebrate Independence Day. Its mission is to take a close look at the planet itself (as...

 

Adventure to the Consumer Electronics Show yielded few Martian technologies

As an electronics engineer, I've always wanted to visit the fabled International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. However, since I was working in medical electronics, my company wasn't...

 

How much has changed as things remain the same....

By the time this goes to press, most of you will have seen episode VII of Star Wars. A friend offered the view that it contained many of the same plot elements that made the first film, released in...

 

New Horizons Changes Course as Pioneer 6 reaches 50

After dazzling the world with high resolution images and high-tech data from Pluto, New Horizons is going for the extra point. Even while it continued the slow process of downloading the massive...

 

Occultations, conjunctions, eclipses, oh my!

2015 has certainly been a year for celestial alignments! As we go to press, there will be a total lunar eclipse tomorrow (September 27th), which I told you about last month. In brief, the sun will...

 

Cosmic flight plans

As we look out at the night sky, one of the greatest challenges is seeing it properly in three dimensions. We are offered the illusion of depth perception by believing that the brightest objects are...

 

"The 'Dog Days' of Summer"

The Ancient Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians called the hottest days of summer the ‘Dog Days’ of summer. To me they’re a sizable chunk of the ‘Hundred Days of Hell.’ To explain: Those of you...

 

'New Horizons' zeroes in on Pluto

When I was a kid, the best image of Pluto from Mount Palomar was a fuzzy dot. The great Hubble Space Telescope later gave us a fuzzy ball, which wasn’t much more satisfying. Something drastic had...

 
 By Dale Hawkins    Community    May 23, 2015

It's time to party! 'Star Party', that is

With April showers and May flowers behind us, summer nights will soon be upon us. This year Tehachapians can look forward to two community star parties where we can get together to learn about the...

 

Citizen astronomers

How many of us still cling to the image of the astronomer as a stiff-moving caricature in a white lab coat and oversized spectacles, pacing around while staring at the ground, or peering through a tel...

 

Gould's Belt defines our galactic neighborhood

The warm winter we've been enjoying has also afforded us many extra nights of skies clear enough to see the Milky Way. Most consider the section of our galaxy that's in view on winter evenings to be t...

 

Dawn Makes Its Second Rendezvous at Dwarf Planet Ceres

Three-and-a-half years ago, a sophisticated NASA space probe named Dawn caught up with an asteroid named Vesta. Instead of just collecting images and data as it flew by, it fired its ion thrusters...

 

Tehachapi Pays Its Dues as We Reach for the Stars

Tehachapians are on the front lines of the conquest of space. Many work at Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Edwards Air Force Base/NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center, Mojave Air and Space Port, or one of...

 

The Plight of Hanger 1

The preservation of the Tehachapi area's unique "transportation history" continues to be a priority for some dedicated volunteers. Friends of the Airport has embarked on several ventures intended to...

 

Martian Rendezvous Imminent

This September, two more space probes will arrive at Mars. After flying for the better part of a year in very loose formation, NASA's MAVEN and India's Mangalyaan orbiters will begin examining Mars...

 

Milky Way Intimacy - Part 2

In the last Sky Watch article we were trying to wrap our minds around what we see when we look toward the center of our Milky Way Galaxy. As I explained, we live amongst a swirling disc of stars with...

 

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