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Summer Observing In US Northeast - Is it Possible?

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#1 Peter10

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Posted 30 June 2013 - 02:28 PM

Is it just me, or has this spring and summer been unusually cloudy and hazy. I realize that warmer temperatures correlate with increased atmospheric moisture but is it typically this bad? Is there a database that shows historical data on cloud cover and transparency? It would be interesting to compare historical observing conditions to the current soup we call the night sky.

Peter

#2 Gil V

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Posted 30 June 2013 - 03:34 PM

You'll get your good nights here - usually when a late afternoon cold front has blown through.

#3 Greyhaven

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Posted 30 June 2013 - 03:50 PM

Peter' Blame the lousy N.E. skies on the ever present jet stream over head cold fronts from our neighbors to the north
hit the warm moist air riding up the coast. But when those beautiful dry Canadian highs are with us it just makes me want to blow up that bridge in Kittery :tonofbricks: and keep it all to myself.
Be Well
Grey

#4 amicus sidera

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Posted 30 June 2013 - 05:00 PM

The cloud cover over the northeastern U.S. during the warmer weather has increased noticeably since the mid-1970's, and markedly so in the last half-decade, according to my observing logs. I put this increase down primarily to increased stratospheric jet traffic and government weather-modification attempts, with the excessive cloudiness of the last few years resulting from these factors combined with increased atmospheric water vapor; this due to the evaporation occurring over the large areas of open water exposed in the Arctic regions due to ice melt.

Fred

#5 azure1961p

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Posted 30 June 2013 - 08:28 PM

Yes it's been unusually cloudy, hazy and rainy. Even winter was lousy with too much clouds and haze. Spring got a little better. Of course, July and August are the true hazy poor transparency months but the seeing can be just a hair short of perfect.

Pete

#6 bherv

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Posted 30 June 2013 - 09:06 PM

There is a stalled weather pattern over the US. Huge ridge of high pressure out west bringing the intense heat. A trough in the middle of the country with the jet stream dipping to the south and then turning sharply north along the Appalachans bringing very warm moist air up the eastern seaboard resulting in the constant threat of showers of a storms. The dew points have been close to 70 for a week and there is no end in site. Usually by mid-August we get some periods of cooler drier air which brings improved transparency but poorer seeing conditions.
Barry

#7 Peter10

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Posted 30 June 2013 - 09:16 PM

I suppose I can wait until mid-August for this translucent sky to yield. The one good thing is that it has given me time to work on my equipment in preparation for better times.

Peter

#8 Pinbout

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Posted 30 June 2013 - 09:23 PM

and when it is really nice its a full moon. :foreheadslap:

#9 Tony Flanders

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Posted 01 July 2013 - 06:34 AM

Is it just me, or has this spring and summer been unusually cloudy and hazy.


There was some excellent weather in the early and mid spring, but the recent weather pattern is abnormally bad even by eastern U.S. standards. Hazy skies are the norm in the Northeast from mid-June to mid-August, but this is ridiculous ...

#10 BrooksObs

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Posted 01 July 2013 - 07:46 AM

No, Peter, this year's spring and early summer have been no different from what is experienced on average in the northeastern U.S.

While over the last 10 days, as already noted here, the overall progress of weather systems across the country has stalled, I found June to have had more clear/usable nights than any June that I can recall in the past 25 years, although virtually all came before the 20th.

I just participated in a discussion re observing weather/lack of clear nights on another site's forum. I came away with the impression that many who today are complaining about a lack of clear skies actually take advantage of only a very small percentage of those that are available. Among this other site's posters most reported less than 25 nights ANNUALLY. When I checked my records I found that I had been out doing useful observing on 93 evenings! And this was from southeastern NY, long known as one of the least favorable locations for clear skies anywhere in the country.

This is not to say that the actual number of clear nights per year doesn't vary widely year to year, or that their average number hasn't declined with time. Certainly, there are far less clear nights now than I experienced 30 or 40 years back. Still, in any given year there would seem to be many more clear nights than most hobbyists are taking advantage of.

BrooksObs

#11 REC

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Posted 01 July 2013 - 08:36 AM

Same here in the SE, the whole month of June sucked! That is why I went on vacation out west! Blue sky and 72* everyday and now I come back to this soup :foreheadslap:

#12 Monadnock

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Posted 01 July 2013 - 09:00 AM

I agree, RIDICULOUS! IMO, NOT having a telescope has a tendency to make the cloudy days pass by a bit more unnoticed, but none of us are "enjoying" that scenario, are we?

There's no doubt in my mind most of the summers in the last 10 years have been lees than kind. Last year, or the year before, June (I think) had 28 of 30 days filled with rain. Then long days with searing heat and drought fill in the spaces where it used to be nice.

Oh well :(

#13 star drop

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Posted 01 July 2013 - 10:37 AM

There has been a steep decline in the number of clear nights or clear days year round at my location in southwestern New York since late 2007. Precipitation has also increased. My rain gauge no longer functions due to its unfortunate use as a horse itching post but our pond's water level has not dropped during the summer from 2008 to the present as it had done every year from 2001-2007. It is about ready to overflow once again and carry the minnows down the spillway to their demise for the umpteenth time this year.

I do keep snow total records, and very precise ones after the 2008-09 snow job.
2001-02 90" A very mild winter indeed.
2002-2007 around 175-180" each winter - I'm in the lake effect snow belt so I just accept it.
2008-09 345" I figured out why mice tunnel under the snow pack instead of shoveling.
2009-10 215"
2010-11 261"
2011-12 161" Excessive amounts of rain kept the snow total down.
2012-13 232"

Don't get me started on the "would have been clear nights" lost to contrails caused by the excessive air traffic. Can't anyone stay at home?

#14 csrlice12

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Posted 01 July 2013 - 11:43 AM

Sure it is, all you got to do is wait two weeks for Winter! :lol:

#15 azure1961p

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Posted 01 July 2013 - 02:11 PM

Brooks,

I can't recall more clouded out evenings than I've had in the last four months. Late winter was awful. Trouble is where the recorded clear nights don't account for what's astronomically usefull. Partly cloudy can mean a sky exitnguished of virtually all star light and clear can have heavy high altitude haze making deepsky pointless. The statistics are not accurate enough to quantify what's truly useful for the astronomer.

It might be actually but I've never seen that kind of accuracy reported. Astronomy is very condition sensitive as you know. I'd not put much faith in the weather archives as useful records of what's suitae to the astronomer.

Pete

#16 csrlice12

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Posted 01 July 2013 - 03:04 PM

I've noticed here in Denver, while they say "clear", it's usually actually very hazy to partly cloudy. When the sky is grey, I hardly call that "clear".

#17 steveyo

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Posted 01 July 2013 - 04:03 PM

It's simple.

I live in Albany NY area, smack-dab in the middle of the Northeast. My Teeter Dob has been ready for a couple weeks, so the weather got lousy, just in case I took delivery. Sorry to tell you all this, but I just actually took possession of the scope Saturday, 6/29/2013, so that lousy weather is here to stay for a while longer.

#18 RedLionNJ

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Posted 01 July 2013 - 04:35 PM

There is no doubt in my experience this has been the worst spring, astronomy-conditions-wise, in my part of New Jersey since I started record-keeping 8 years ago.

Since Jan 1, we have had NINE nights I would consider "good". My definition of "good" for this purpose is either great transparency (and no clouds!) or decent transparency with good seeing.

For the same Jan-June period in prior years, this number has been at least twenty.

Grant

#19 Kraus

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Posted 01 July 2013 - 05:17 PM


It's just you. My weather sucks big time.

#20 davebuechler

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Posted 01 July 2013 - 06:58 PM

While Kentucky isn't the NE the weather pattern here this year has been especially bad the week or so before and during the new moon. I have had only a few months since last November that were clear a night or two around the new moon. So in lieu of viewing DSO's and doing AP, I have been observing more double and multiple stars and still having fun.

#21 azure1961p

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Posted 01 July 2013 - 07:41 PM

There is no doubt in my experience this has been the worst spring, astronomy-conditions-wise, in my part of New Jersey since I started record-keeping 8 years ago.

Since Jan 1, we have had NINE nights I would consider "good". My definition of "good" for this purpose is either great transparency (and no clouds!) or decent transparency with good seeing.

For the same Jan-June period in prior years, this number has been at least twenty.

Grant


Agreed.

Pete

#22 vsteblina

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Posted 01 July 2013 - 09:05 PM

It isn't any better in the Northwest.

The last two years here in Washington state have been cool and rainy.

We finally got a typical spring this year.

However, the past two weeks have been the worst weather in 35 years of living Wenatchee for this time of year. CLOUDS and RAIN for most of the past two weeks. TWO WEEKS OF CLOUDS IN JUNE!!!! REALLY??

I was ready to reset my equipment in the observatory and was hoping for clear weather during the moon period so I could adjust everything.

Oh well, it is finally clearing out.

#23 shawnhar

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Posted 01 July 2013 - 10:35 PM

This is the 1st year in a while that it really hit home.
I actually DO live on the edge of a temperate RAINFOREST!
Last 6 weeks have been harsh, I'm hoping the current weather pattern clears out, geesh...

#24 Ron (Lubbock)

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Posted 01 July 2013 - 10:49 PM

Weather has been uncooperative here in west TX since about June 12. Seems like a cloud bank rolls in right around dinner time every day. Reminds me of the 1980s when I was growing up in northeastern PA. Most of the "clear" nights were so hazy as to be useless for deep sky.

#25 roscoe

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Posted 01 July 2013 - 11:02 PM

Well, it's July 1, normally I'm eating fresh peas and salad greens from our garden by now...This year, we're still planting (in mud), and much is only an inch or two tall.
My hay crop is likely ruined....... it is over-ripe, starting to lie down, and the ground is so wet that even if I could get equipment in without it sinking out-of-sight, the cut hay would never dry lying on the soggy soil.
I normally bring binocs every night when I walk our dog, only looked through them 5 times in June....
I wish I kept better records, but this has certainly been (except for two hot-hazy weeks) the coolest and cloudiest
spring in memory.....
R






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