Rivers show us patience

I’m late for a meeting.  The car in front of me travels slowly, cautiously navigating every curve of the road along the Kickapoo River. I consider passing, yet the double yellow line offers a constant companion to travelers of Highway 131, where sight lines disappear...

Driftless Dark Skies: Mars Returns

Mars will be awesome in the dark skies of the Driftless this month. It has not been this bright since the Great Perihelic Opposition of August 2003 and won’t be this bright again until September 2035.  Mars takes almost two years to orbit the Sun, so Earth “laps” it...

Driftless Dark Skies: Evening Planets

Our neighboring worlds of the Solar System will be spectacular this summer. There are five planets visible to our unaided eyes, and you will be able to see Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn in the evening skies of our Driftless Area. Three easy ways to tell a...

Driftless Dark Skies: Summer Stargazing

The warm nights ahead are a great time to explore our dark skies. Planets will be spectacular this summer. Venus is brilliant and beautiful on the western sky after sunset, Jupiter is closest to Earth on May 9, Saturn on June 27, and Mars on July 31. There are plenty...

Driftless Dark Skies: Roaming Mars

Mars has long sparked my imagination. I think it was that map of the Solar System I had as a kid showing canals and vegetation. Only when I learned Roman numerals did I discover that the map was out of date. But I was left with a favorite planet. Now Mars is...

Driftless Dark Skies: Evenings with Venus

Venus will be bright and beautiful after sunset in the western skies of the River Valley this spring and summer. Venus outshines all the other planets and stars. On March 1, Venus is fairly low to the horizon and sets around 6:50 about an hour after the Sun. If you...