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Clear nights per year

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#26 CMacD

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Posted 22 December 2012 - 10:34 PM

Suggest you Google Extech VB300...


Cool little device.

#27 CMacD

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Posted 22 December 2012 - 10:45 PM

One of the challenges here in Hawaii is that the weather is very localized because of the influence of the Easterly trade winds combined with the height and size of the volcanoes.


Very interesting Chris. The mountains can be great benefactors for clear skies and terrible demons just a few miles down the road! Any data that I glean from satellite images still needs to be tempered with local anomalies. I've noticed that the Happy Jack area around the Discovery Telescope in Arizona seems to have a range that may produce behavior like that.

#28 CMacD

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Posted 29 December 2012 - 07:06 PM

Now that December is almost over I thought it a good idea to show where the best seeing was for the month. It turns out to live on either north coast was rather dismal. The best places for owning an observatory this past month have been in mid to southern Arizona or southern Florida. I would say the Canadian arctic or Alaska as that has been by far the best place on this continent to observe but the conditions for the waking hours of the day have been rather nippy and you don't get to see very far south. Although the nights have been very long :)

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#29 Christopher Erickson

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Posted 29 December 2012 - 07:50 PM

Now that December is almost over I thought it a good idea to show where the best seeing was for the month. It turns out to live on either north coast was rather dismal. The best places for owning an observatory this past month have been in mid to southern Arizona or southern Florida. I would say the Canadian arctic or Alaska as that has been by far the best place on this continent to observe but the conditions for the waking hours of the day have been rather nippy and you don't get to see very far south. Although the nights have been very long :)


Some notes about astronomy in Alaska, since I lived there for 25 years...

* From about April fifteenth to September first, you only get one star to look at. Sol. Land of the Midnight Sun!

* "Alaska" is too general of a reference. One fifth of the USA is Alaska. You could cut Alaska in half and make Texas the third-largest state.

* Over half of Alaska's population lives in Anchorage and that is where most-all of the best jobs are. Anchorage has considerable light-pollution in the winter, with all of that white stuff on the ground.

* The planets don't get very far above the horizon when you live above 60 degrees North latitude.

* COLD...

* Anchorage has about 30 or so clear, starry nights a year.

* Fairbanks hovers between -30F and -65F during the winter.

* Juneau will show you a whole-new dimension to rain.

* If you have a passion for astrophotography, after a while, Northern lights become just one more form of light pollution.

* Alaska is Jet-Stream-Central.

* In the spring, the mosquitoes arrive before the snow is gone.

#30 CMacD

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Posted 29 December 2012 - 11:08 PM

* COLD...

* Anchorage has about 30 or so clear, starry nights a year.

* Fairbanks hovers between -30F and -65F during the winter.


OUCH! That is one place I do NOT plan to visit in the winter ;)

#31 Alex McConahay

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Posted 29 December 2012 - 11:16 PM

So, just why did you move to Hawaii?

Alex

#32 Christopher Erickson

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Posted 29 December 2012 - 11:31 PM

So, just why did you move to Hawaii?

Alex


Um... I forget...

#33 Christopher Erickson

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 01:53 AM

* COLD...

* Anchorage has about 30 or so clear, starry nights a year.

* Fairbanks hovers between -30F and -65F during the winter.


OUCH! That is one place I do NOT plan to visit in the winter ;)


Actually, observing the Northern Lights while comfortably-dressed for arctic weather on a cold Alaskan night is an awesome experience that you will never forget. It should be on everyone's bucket list!

#34 Alex McConahay

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 09:01 AM

I'll be there this March......

Alex

#35 Tom and Beth

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 10:37 PM

* COLD...

* Anchorage has about 30 or so clear, starry nights a year.

* Fairbanks hovers between -30F and -65F during the winter.


OUCH! That is one place I do NOT plan to visit in the winter ;)


Actually, observing the Northern Lights while comfortably-dressed for arctic weather on a cold Alaskan night is an awesome experience that you will never forget. It should be on everyone's bucket list!


It is on mine! Hopefully they won't be prying me cold dead caboose from the ice the following morning :lol:

#36 CMacD

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 07:40 AM

* COLD...

* Anchorage has about 30 or so clear, starry nights a year.

* Fairbanks hovers between -30F and -65F during the winter.


OUCH! That is one place I do NOT plan to visit in the winter ;)


Actually, observing the Northern Lights while comfortably-dressed for arctic weather on a cold Alaskan night is an awesome experience that you will never forget. It should be on everyone's bucket list!


Oh - ok. I concede. Its probably "A nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there." :lol:

#37 AB9MS

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 08:24 PM

On that map, I assume dark is clear skies and white is lots of cloud cover. I make that assumption form the white blob on the WI/IL border SW WI. I recall about 2 clear nights last month. I work from 9PM to 6AM so the timing for clear nights and me not at work don't line up much. Cool map though.
Lewis

#38 CMacD

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 08:23 AM

On that map, I assume dark is clear skies and white is lots of cloud cover. I make that assumption form the white blob on the WI/IL border SW WI. I recall about 2 clear nights last month. I work from 9PM to 6AM so the timing for clear nights and me not at work don't line up much. Cool map though.
Lewis

The map is made from two sources at the moment. The "Earth at night" image and the Clear Sky chart prediction of the astronomical seeing for midnight. I have started to acquire and infrared weather image for North America to be added to those to provide the "actual" conditions as well (as mountain ranges can be rather finicky with the cloud cover). So to answer your question the brightest white contains the glow from city lights while the light grey to dark blue represent from cloud cover to good seeing (the light grey being an average amount of clouds over the month - as daily images have been added together and then contrast stretched).

#39 Hermie

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 08:55 AM

Clark,

I think if you can find anywhere in the southern US you are on the way. I used to live in LA for a while, and anywhere south of that is pretty good seeing and fairly clear skies. Don't chase perfect - just look for somewhere to set up!

Of course, if you can get Hawaii or Australia go for it!

Your rig is mobile. Get started anywhere you can in SOCAL/Arizona/NM and go from there. Don't forget the seeing! Keep to the coast if you can.

Good Luck!

Hermie

#40 Christopher Erickson

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 07:34 PM

Clark,

I think if you can find anywhere in the southern US you are on the way. I used to live in LA for a while, and anywhere south of that is pretty good seeing and fairly clear skies. Don't chase perfect - just look for somewhere to set up!

Of course, if you can get Hawaii or Australia go for it!

Your rig is mobile. Get started anywhere you can in SOCAL/Arizona/NM and go from there. Don't forget the seeing! Keep to the coast if you can.

Good Luck!

Hermie


Be advised that about 75% of Hawaii is horrible for astronomy and another 15% is marginal. The remaining 10% that is great for astronomy is primarily located in specific areas of the Big Island and Maui. Oahu/Honolulu is packed with people/light pollution and the best places to stargaze are now closed to public access.

#41 CMacD

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 07:58 PM

Be advised that about 75% of Hawaii is horrible for astronomy and another 15% is marginal. The remaining 10% that is great for astronomy is primarily located in specific areas of the Big Island and Maui. Oahu/Honolulu is packed with people/light pollution and the best places to stargaze are now closed to public access.

Now that is just plain sad. :( I must admit Chris that you just burst my bubble. I guess we still have Chile!

#42 Christopher Erickson

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 05:15 AM

Be advised that about 75% of Hawaii is horrible for astronomy and another 15% is marginal. The remaining 10% that is great for astronomy is primarily located in specific areas of the Big Island and Maui. Oahu/Honolulu is packed with people/light pollution and the best places to stargaze are now closed to public access.

Now that is just plain sad. :( I must admit Chris that you just burst my bubble. I guess we still have Chile!


Why does that burst your bubble?

All it means that you have to put some thought into where in Hawaii you choose to live!

After all, the same would go for Chile...

#43 Midnight Dan

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 07:07 AM

Coming in late to this thread, but thanks for the work you put into the map, and for confirming that I live in the worst spot in the country for observing! :p

-Dan

#44 CMacD

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 08:48 AM


Now that is just plain sad. :( I must admit Chris that you just burst my bubble. I guess we still have Chile!


Why does that burst your bubble?

All it means that you have to put some thought into where in Hawaii you choose to live!

After all, the same would go for Chile...

LOL - I guess that's true. My son just came back from his honeymoon in Hawaii and said that it was raining a good portion of the time. I think it is somewhat of an urban myth that Hawaii is one of the best places on earth for amateur astronomy. Hermie is like most of us when we think of the "Mecca" for astronomy. Yet light pollution exists just about everywhere that man does, and rain or clouds happen pretty near everywhere man does too :) Which proves your point for sure: Knowing the area is a good thing ;)

#45 Christopher Erickson

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 01:48 PM


Now that is just plain sad. :( I must admit Chris that you just burst my bubble. I guess we still have Chile!


Why does that burst your bubble?

All it means that you have to put some thought into where in Hawaii you choose to live!

After all, the same would go for Chile...

LOL - I guess that's true. My son just came back from his honeymoon in Hawaii and said that it was raining a good portion of the time. I think it is somewhat of an urban myth that Hawaii is one of the best places on earth for amateur astronomy. Hermie is like most of us when we think of the "Mecca" for astronomy. Yet light pollution exists just about everywhere that man does, and rain or clouds happen pretty near everywhere man does too :) Which proves your point for sure: Knowing the area is a good thing ;)


The Big Island of Hawaii has ten of the thirteen major climate types, all in one island! Where I live in Waikoloa Village, we got 3" of rain in 2012, 4" of rain in 2011 and 6" of rain in 2010. We average about 300-330 clear nights a year. However over in Waimea, only 30 minutes away, they got about 120" of rain on the wet side of town! Some parts of the East side of the island (the wet side) get up to 250" of rain a year.

I have a 16" personal scope and here in Waikoloa Village, three of my neighbors have scopes bigger than mine!

Moving to Hawaii to enjoy astronomy can be very rewarding but you will need to carefully do your climate/people/resources research before deciding where to live.

Thirteen world-class professional observatories on Mauna Kea can't be wrong!

I hope this helps.

#46 CMacD

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 03:39 PM

Moving to Hawaii to enjoy astronomy can be very rewarding but you will need to carefully do your climate/people/resources research before deciding where to live.

Thirteen world-class professional observatories on Mauna Kea can't be wrong!

I hope this helps.

I think I speak for the rest of us when I say that I appreciate your attention to detail Chris. As I hope to choose one of the best places in North America to move my trailer, attention to climate and light pollution is the primary reason for this thread. But you make very good points when you include people/resources in there as well. Putting it all together is proving to be a tad more tricky than I originally anticipated.

#47 CMacD

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 10:48 AM

January has been a rather blah month for most of North America. Southwest states and Florida Keys continue to be the best places to view on the continent. Nothing new there. Although Utah and Nevada picked up more clear skies this month compared to December as did southern Idaho and Oregon.

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#48 CMacD

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 09:17 AM

February has been very similar to January. I had a chance to attend the WSP in the Florida Keys this year and can confirm the mostly cloudless skies and fair seeing. During the week of the new moon the atmosphere would be rated 4/5. We got some fair images of Jupiter. Other than the keys however it looks like the southwest was about the only area with reasonable skies for the month. Its starting to get interesting watching as the different areas of the continent show their monthly transitions.

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#49 rlandsboro

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 10:10 PM

[quote name="CMacD"][quote]Be advised that about 75% of Hawaii is horrible for astronomy and another 15% is marginal. The remaining 10% that is great for astronomy is primarily located in specific areas of the Big Island and Maui. Oahu/Honolulu is packed with people/light pollution and the best places to stargaze are now closed to public access. [/quote]

I'm just curious - what part of Maui would you recommend for astronomy?

#50 Christopher Erickson

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 11:40 PM

[quote name="rlandsboro"][quote][quote]Be advised that about 75% of Hawaii is horrible for astronomy and another 15% is marginal. The remaining 10% that is great for astronomy is primarily located in specific areas of the Big Island and Maui. Oahu/Honolulu is packed with people/light pollution and the best places to stargaze are now closed to public access. [/quote]

I'm just curious - what part of Maui would you recommend for astronomy? [/quote]

The summit of Haleakala is the most important part!






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