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Seeing along the front range of Colorado - help!

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#1 George P Dunham

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 12:14 AM

I have lived in Pinecliffe, Colorado for 10 years. To date I can count the number of good seeing experiences I've had here on one hand. Can anyone give me a heads up on conditions in this area, conducive to good seeing? :bangbangbang:

#2 mayidunk

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 01:06 AM

How about the Clear Sky Chart?

#3 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 04:34 AM

I have lived in Pinecliffe, Colorado for 10 years. To date I can count the number of good seeing experiences I've had here on one hand. Can anyone give me a heads up on conditions in this area, conducive to good seeing? :bangbangbang:


I really can't help you much except to say that in my experience viewing on the leeward side of mountain ranges generally results in poor seeing because there is a lot of turbulence... :( Hopefully the skies are dark so that you can enjoy viewing DSOs and the like.

Around here, the seeing is usually very good in the city, not so good in the mountains but the skies are dark. I doubt very much that anyone travels from the dark skies to the city for the seeing...

Jon

#4 csrlice12

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 08:53 AM

Not certain where Pinecliff is. The Denver Astronomical Society has a dark site about an hour's drive East of town near Deer Trail. CO Springs has a dark site too.

#5 garyp1936

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 11:02 AM

Having lived in Fort Collins for 15 years I can understand your situation. A wonderful city, but the Chamber of Commerce never mentions the wind (which is a variety of Wyoming winds located only 35 miles north.) Seeing is often very poor, especially in the winter due to the overhead jetstream. I, like you, have suffered through many, many observing sessions sitting in the cold and waiting for a stable atmosphere. My solution, which is of little help to you, was to buy a winter home in Sun City Vistoso on the north outskirts of Tucson. In this month of November practically no wind and low temps at night in the low 50s.. I agree with Jon's assessment--the Front Range is on the leeward side of the mountains, for which there is no cure. Gary in Tucson

#6 Dwight J

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 12:18 PM

I live in southern Alberta 60 miles east of the Rockies. Nights of good seeing total 4 in the last 30 years. The condition necessary for good seeing is a large, slow moving high pressure system to your southeast. The circulation of the high will then come from over relatively flatter land mass and be somewhat smoother. The only upsides are better transparancey and more clear nights.

#7 Dennis_S253

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 01:03 PM

How long have you been viewing the stars?

#8 FeynmanFan

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 04:13 PM

Yeah, there are challenges to observing along the front range. Seeing is frequently below par, sometimes abysmal, rarely really good. Transparency can be great, but the light pollution in town is pretty bad (red zone), although a thirty mile drive to Pawnee Grasslands gets one into a green-blue zone. If observing was my only consideration, I wouldn't be here. However, there are so many other things about the area that I love, here I stay. It is what it is.

#9 David Pavlich

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 04:23 PM

Two words...Jet Stream. It is the bane of the northern half of the ccntinent. The atmosphere remains in a constant state of churning. Best advice, be a deep space object viewer. It's less dependent on seeing and more dependent on transparency and dark skies.

David

#10 Tony Flanders

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 09:00 PM

Two words...Jet Stream.


No. The jet stream is a serious problem, but it's a petty annoyance compared to being downwind of a major mountain range. That's kinda like trying to observe through the exhaust of a jet engine.

The solutions are to drive to the other side of the mountains or way out into the grasslands. Or concentrate on faint fuzzies.

#11 Qwickdraw

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 05:55 AM

I always try to find a bright side to every negative. I am sure you appreciate every good night of seeing you are blessed with more than any of us. So to you, think of it as one of those great nights that dont come along too often and be happy for those times.

#12 weezy

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 08:48 AM

Add Pikes Peak to the mix and you have even stranger weather.
CS is close enough to a major fourteener to be in the front line of any weather system it creates.

Usually totally overhead is fairly clear. Can't say about seeing, but it is darker.

The wind also makes going outside unpleasant. The past couple of years it has been exceptionally windy.

#13 George P Dunham

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 09:29 AM

So it is established that seeing is below par around here and it is well know why. I am hoping someone might have some personal experience with this. Pinecliffe is about 5 miles south east of Nederland and about 10 miles north east of Blackhawk. Maybe 15 miles east of the continental divide. Skies are at times very transparent and modestly dark. Clear sky chart does not seem to have a good handle on our seeing. During the winter months, with west winds over 7 mph, I wouldn't even consider uncovering the scope. Have you front ranger's found that there are any particular weather situations that produce good seeing moments?

#14 Dwight J

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 04:30 PM

George: check my post again for conditions to look out for. Here is a site that will help determine when good seeing comes along. Yes, it is a Canadian site but the maps cover all of North America: http://www.weatherof...ro/index_e.html






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