Jump to content


Photo

Summer Observing In US Northeast - Is it Possible?

  • Please log in to reply
89 replies to this topic

#76 auriga

auriga

    Apollo

  • -----
  • Posts: 1343
  • Joined: 02 Mar 2006

Posted 09 July 2013 - 11:54 PM

All I know is Ohio is the absolute worst state in the country for weather. Much worse than the Pacific Northwest. We've now had a staggering 15 days in a row of rain and the extended 10 day forecast calls for, you guessed it, LOTS of rain. The average cloudy skies here is 293 days a year. That's 293 out of 365! Plus we have no true dark skies the light pollution is everywhere. Even in rural areas light domes are inescapable.

To make matters wrose, the clearest nights we had all year happed during the full mooon cycle and the summer solstice! :flame:


Here in Cincinnati it started to rain in March and has rained or been very cloudy more or less continuously through early July with no end in sight. i am sure records are being set for rainfall and cloudy days.

Bill

#77 hfjacinto

hfjacinto

    I think he's got it!

  • *****
  • Posts: 11865
  • Joined: 12 Jan 2009
  • Loc: Land of clouds and LP

Posted 10 July 2013 - 08:32 AM

The 2 clear nights we had in NJ (7/5 and 7/6) I was in PA for an overnight trip. Trip was great but I missed the clear nights.

#78 Daniel Guzas

Daniel Guzas

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 679
  • Joined: 20 Nov 2010
  • Loc: Bethlehem NH/ Boston MA

Posted 14 July 2013 - 12:24 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.


I have to admit part of it is my fault as well. I picked up my Teeter 15" on May 30th and that day was the start of all the hot cloudy weather....it was 90 the day of the pick up...

Needless to say I haven't had a chance for first light with it and it's already mid July.... :foreheadslap:

So you have 2 big reasons for the clouds...and haze... ;) sorry folks....

#79 amicus sidera

amicus sidera

    Skylab

  • *****
  • Posts: 4215
  • Joined: 14 Oct 2011
  • Loc: East of the Sun, West of the Moon...

Posted 14 July 2013 - 03:03 PM

All I know is Ohio is the absolute worst state in the country for weather.


Ohio might well be the worst state for astronomy in general, but the award for worst astronomy weather should likely go to West Virginia: it is the cloudiest state in the continental U.S., due the effectiveness of the Appalachain Mountains in trapping cloudiness on the western, windward side of their range. Of course, all that cloudiness is mitigated (to a fairly small degree, in my opinion) by the generally low levels of light pollution in the state.

Fred

#80 Phillip Creed

Phillip Creed

    Idiot Seeking Village

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 2098
  • Joined: 25 Jul 2006
  • Loc: Canton, OH

Posted 15 July 2013 - 04:28 PM

I hear people bad-mouthing Ohio's weather and how it's among the absolute worst states for astronomy. The only problem is...

...they're right.

Clear Skies,
Phil

#81 Phillip Creed

Phillip Creed

    Idiot Seeking Village

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 2098
  • Joined: 25 Jul 2006
  • Loc: Canton, OH

Posted 15 July 2013 - 04:35 PM

Ohio might well be the worst state for astronomy in general, but the award for worst astronomy weather should likely go to West Virginia: it is the cloudiest state in the continental U.S., due the effectiveness of the Appalachain Mountains in trapping cloudiness on the western, windward side of their range. Of course, all that cloudiness is mitigated (to a fairly small degree, in my opinion) by the generally low levels of light pollution in the state.

Fred


If you look at the National Climate Data Center's data for # clear days / year, the worst location appears to be Elkins, WV, just west of the spine of the Appalachian Mountains. One of the reasons for Elkins being so bad is the fog that's a big, big problem on any night where the breeze dies down. Going up higher in the mountains helps cut down on fog, but you'll get more orographic (upslope) clouds, so it's largely a wash.

One thing to remember is that it's not the # clear days that matters, but the amount of clear NIGHTS. Most of NOAA's sky cover data relates to daytime conditions only. I've attached a photo from a previous post that shows avg. long-term nighttime cloud cover since 2000 in the northeastern U.S., c/o NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center / Giovanni online data.

As far as what the worst state East of the Mississippi is for stargazing, you could also make a case for Michigan, as you've got (a) lots of clouds, but also (b) ridiculously-long summer twilight and little true-dark time in the warm season, and © they're still clinging to the Eastern Time Zone, which helps make sunset and the arrival of truly dark skies ridiculously late as well.

Since 75W is the standard meridian for the Eastern Time Zone, anything west of 82.5W should be in the Central Time Zone. Thus, Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee should entirely be in the Central Time Zone. That alone would improve these states' ratings among stargazers. It won't help the weather, but it at least will be getting dark an hour earlier.

Clear(er) Skies,
Phil

Attached Files



#82 Phillip Creed

Phillip Creed

    Idiot Seeking Village

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 2098
  • Joined: 25 Jul 2006
  • Loc: Canton, OH

Posted 15 July 2013 - 04:46 PM

Here's another NASA / GSFC / Giovanni picture, with average sky cover since 2000 over the Continental U.S. and southern Canada.

If you ever needed a reason to go to / join Deerlick Astronomy Village, look no further. The central third of Georgia's about as good odds as you'll find east of the Mississippi.

Clear Skies,
Phil

Attached Files



#83 BrooksObs

BrooksObs

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 915
  • Joined: 08 Dec 2012

Posted 17 July 2013 - 07:53 AM

I noted a rather interesting weather event yesterday afternoon that perhaps has ties to this thread, although I'm not exactly sure of its cause.

In NY's Hudson Valley yesterday morning (July 16th) it was hazy, hot, and very humid with the usual accompanying miky white skies. What weak breeze there was came roughly from the south. Conditions would have been hopeless for observing had it been night.

Early in the afternoon the wind direction abruptly shifted to the N-NW and became fresh. The air suddenly was much drier and the sky cleared to a beautiful deep blue almost immediately and the clearest in weeks! These conditions prevailed unchanged for several hours until about dinner time. Then a wave of clouds swept in from the north and conditions returned to the earlier oppressive ones. Although the wind direction continued to be from the NW, rather murky skies were maintained through midnight and at dark were too poor for observing what with the quarter moon illuminating the haze.

As someone with a decided long-term interest in meteorology, as well as astronomy, I have seen a lot of interesting weather events in my region. This one, however, was singularly odd and rather difficult to account for given the positions of the weather systems and fronts at the time.

Then again, this sort of thing kinda fits in with the bizarre weather patterns of this summer. Who ever saw the flow of systems in the continental U.S. running east to west before?

BrooksObs

#84 amicus sidera

amicus sidera

    Skylab

  • *****
  • Posts: 4215
  • Joined: 14 Oct 2011
  • Loc: East of the Sun, West of the Moon...

Posted 17 July 2013 - 12:30 PM

I also noted the "dry slot", for lack of a better term, that you describe as it passed over my area (northern New Jersey) somewhat later in the day... this relatively small area of low humidity (approximately 70 miles or so in extent, and somewhat trapezoidal in outline) was clearly visible to me on the satellite feed solely in water vapor mode - it was hardly noticeable on the other feeds. I thought it quite striking, and looked in on it from time to time; it seemed to appear fairly suddenly, in less than a half-hour's time, and after several hours tracking SSW it slowly vanished into the surrounding humidity.

Having been a keen follower of satellite imagery for many years, I have observed this and similar phenomenon previously, but without being able to deduce the source of the sudden drop in water vapor; thus I can offer no explanation.

Fred

#85 Greyhaven

Greyhaven

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1963
  • Joined: 11 May 2004
  • Loc: 16 miles south of the Buckfield Mall

Posted 17 July 2013 - 07:48 PM

Solid cloud cover here tonight. I got in 3 nights in a row of something like observing this week so I'm not going to complain. Sounds like a war zone around here tonight Fireworks going off pretty close by. Glad I have a steel roof on the observatory and good insurance. I'm pretty sure that if they made people who buy fireworks around here take an IQ test they would not allow sales to anyone that would pass the test. :confused:
Be Well
Grey

#86 BrooksObs

BrooksObs

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 915
  • Joined: 08 Dec 2012

Posted 18 July 2013 - 10:18 AM

Grey - You folks up there in Maine got the wonderful benefits of a backdoor cool front a couple of days ago. Unfortunately, it only got westward through all of Maine, northern New Hampshire and to a little east of Boston, before beginning a slow retreat. I've often seen such fronts make it all the way through PA and Jersey in July, but not this year, at least so far.

BrooksObs

#87 star drop

star drop

    contra contrail

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 72927
  • Joined: 02 Feb 2008
  • Loc: Snow Plop, WNY

Posted 20 July 2013 - 09:13 AM

This past winter I missed seeing the much of the sky. So far I have not seen the summer Milky Way. A cold front finally moved through during the night wreaking lots of devastation. Clouds and high humidity still remain.

#88 Dave M

Dave M

    Cosmos

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 8255
  • Joined: 03 Aug 2004
  • Loc: Ohio

Posted 20 July 2013 - 12:34 PM

How "true" that is :ubetcha:

#89 roscoe

roscoe

    curmudgeon

  • *****
  • Posts: 3519
  • Joined: 04 Feb 2009
  • Loc: NW Mass, inches from VT

Posted 21 July 2013 - 08:03 PM

So far I have not seen the summer Milky Way. A cold front finally moved through during the night wreaking lots of devastation. Clouds and high humidity still remain.


I saw that front coming on the radar, but it dissipated before it got here..... after a week of hot and hazy, we really need rain! I'll pass on the devastation, though.... At least I got my hay made (cut/raked/baled) finally........
And I was able to discern the milky way most nights till the moon got near full.
R

#90 JoeR

JoeR

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1495
  • Joined: 07 Mar 2010
  • Loc: Columbus, OH

Posted 22 July 2013 - 03:54 PM

Of course, all that cloudiness is mitigated (to a fairly small degree, in my opinion) by the generally low levels of light pollution in the state.



Yup if we want to experience true mag 7 dark skies in Ohio it's a 3 hour road trip to Calhoun County WV. I've sadly never experienced it and I hear it is quite good there.

We finally got a break with a quick window of clear nights from the 11th to the 17th. I made the most of it observing and imaging as much as I could until the Moon got too bright. With work schedule and long summer evenings I only got 60 minutes of actual darkness on the weeknight sessions (abolish DST already!) The humidity was rather intense on one night I was constantly wiping down eyepieces. Now we're back to non-stop rain & floods but at least it's the full moon right now. The Farmers Almanac is predicting a dryer than normal Autumn this year let's hope it is right.






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics