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General Astronomy >> General Observing and Astronomy

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MessiToM
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 12/21/09

Loc: Huntingdon PA
Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice....(cloud new
      #5603685 - 01/03/13 08:53 PM

Shame on me!

Ive been duped two nights in a row now. Beautifully clear all dang day long. Clear sky clock and weather.com saying "clear" predicted.

so I lug this big 17.5" outside, assemble the big pain in the you know what early so the primary can equilize.

You know what happens. I step outside after dusk COMPLETELY overcast. I tried waiting them out last night until 3am est with no luck. I havent been able to observe since the previous new moon and that was naked eye (geminids)

UGH!!! Now I have a nice cold scope ready to go under cloudy sky's for the 2nd night in a row. Stinks setting this thing up to just break it down and lug it all inside un used. Iam missing my smaller (12") Newtonian. Took me 2 minutes to take the base and OTA in or out of the house.

rant complete


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SabiaJD
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 02/20/05

Loc: Clarks Summit, PA
Re: Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice....(cloud [Re: MessiToM]
      #5603829 - 01/03/13 10:42 PM

I have had the same experence a few times using only Clear Sky Chart for sky condition expectations. It is a good reference but should not be your only refernce.

Just today CSC indicated clear skies tonight, so I checked CSC hour by hour predictions for the day and compared it to weather satelite images from RAP.

http://weather.rap.ucar.edu/satellite/

Then I compare both to NOAA Graphic Sky condition forecast.

http://graphical.weather.gov/

Select your region by clicking on the map.


NOAA and CSC were not the same, NOAA indicated clouds rolling in CSC clearing. RAP shows clouds moving in.

Fortunate today I could see the clouds arriving before sunset. Therefore I did not set out traveling to my observing site.

Using all of these tools helps to determine if sky conditions will be good for observing in a short term time period.

They also help you learn your seasonal weather patterns, the amateur astronomer second hobby. Put some trust in your local TV weathermen, follow how accurate they are vs. your own predications.

John D Sabia


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Dennis_S253
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 11/22/11

Loc: West Central Florida
Re: Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice....(cloud new [Re: SabiaJD]
      #5604146 - 01/04/13 06:46 AM

Yep, I also check 5 or 6 sites. Here's a nice one. Aviation Weather
You might want to make a shed that you can remove the roof. Might be easier....clear skies


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BSJ
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 12/22/08

Loc: Grand Isle, VT
Re: Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice....(cloud new [Re: Dennis_S253]
      #5604193 - 01/04/13 07:44 AM

Yeah, I've been burned by the CSC many times. Like it's raining when it says zero cloud cover!

WOW! The graphical.weather.gov site is great.

I use this site for Satellite imagery. http://www.goes.noaa.gov/


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csrlice12
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 05/22/12

Loc: Denver, CO
Re: Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice....(cloud new [Re: BSJ]
      #5604253 - 01/04/13 08:44 AM

According to my pizza delivery person, you can turn that scope 180* and look at alien ant colonies, so all is not lost.......

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Tony Flanders
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 05/18/06

Loc: Cambridge, MA, USA
Re: Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice....(cloud new [Re: MessiToM]
      #5604262 - 01/04/13 08:47 AM

See the online article Stargazing Forecasts by Phil Creed and me.

It's particularly helpful to check out satellite photos that show what the weather is actually doing, rather than what it was predicted to do. One good source is the Geostationary Satellite page. Learn to correlate the visual images with the forecast movies during the day, and then learn to correlate the visual images with the IR images, which is all that's available at night.


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Grava T
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 06/18/08

Loc: Quebec, Canada
Re: Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice....(cloud new [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #5604335 - 01/04/13 09:12 AM

Yep, that happened to me on several occasions when I had my large newt so eventually I got sick of it and sold it. Now I observe with small classic refractors, that can pretty much be lifted with one hand out the door, and an eight inch dob. They might not go as deep as the large newt but they get used much more often and I am a much happier observer now.

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cliff mygatt
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 01/27/09

Loc: Kitsap County, WA
Re: Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice....(cloud new [Re: Grava T]
      #5604402 - 01/04/13 09:43 AM

My solution to lugging out the 12 inch Dob is a 120mm Refractor on a EQ mount ready to go at a moments notice and can be handled with one hand. Just some thoughts and good luck!

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FirstSight
Duke of Deneb
*****

Reged: 12/26/05

Loc: Raleigh, NC
Re: Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice....(cloud new [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #5604521 - 01/04/13 10:46 AM

Quote:

See the online article Stargazing Forecasts by Phil Creed and me.

It's particularly helpful to check out satellite photos that show what the weather is actually doing, rather than what it was predicted to do. One good source is the Geostationary Satellite page. Learn to correlate the visual images with the forecast movies during the day, and then learn to correlate the visual images with the IR images, which is all that's available at night.




I am continually astounded at how over-reliant so many of my fellow astronomers seem to be on thumbnail summary forecasts from sources like weather.com and the "clear sky clock", as if the latter was some sort of wizard oracle, when (insofar as probability of clouds) far more reliably accurate primary sources from the National Weather Service, such as dynamic weather maps and satellite imagery, are readily available and not very difficult at all to learn to interpret. For that matter, the National Weather Service provides a more detailed "Area Forecast Discussion" which explains the data, weather dynamics, and reasoning behind their forecast for the current 24 hour period and one to several days beyond. See, for example, the NWS-Raleigh NC "Area Forecast Discussion" for Jan 14 2013. While sometimes this discussion dips into details requiring more advanced knowledge to fully appreciate, nevertheless in general it's not at all difficult for an intelligent layperson to fully grasp the weather dynamics being discussed and predicted, even skimming over some of the more arcane technicalities.

Recognize that the usefulness of the clear sky clock is as a thumbnail capsule forecast tuned to the needs of astronomers, but not nearly as usefully accurate for a go/no go decision on an observing outing as three to five minutes spent with primary National Weather Service sources.

Edited by FirstSight (01/04/13 12:15 PM)


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CJK
professor emeritus


Reged: 12/05/12

Loc: Northeast TN
Re: Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice....(cloud new [Re: FirstSight]
      #5604586 - 01/04/13 11:19 AM

I like the pointer to the aviation weather sites above. Pilots (especially VFR pilots like me) are keenly interested in cloud cover and cloud ceilings, and you'll find that information in any aviation weather app or site.

Another useful resource!

-- Chris


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wky46
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 12/12/05

Loc: west Ky.
Re: Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice....(cloud new [Re: MessiToM]
      #5604589 - 01/04/13 11:20 AM

Definately need a place dedicated to keep your scopes in, huh ? A 17.5" telescope has got to be a bear to lug around.

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skinnyonce
super member
*****

Reged: 03/23/11

Loc: ohio
Re: Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice....(cloud new [Re: MessiToM]
      #5604606 - 01/04/13 11:35 AM

I guess apeture comes with a price besides the $$$$$

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Startraffic
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 02/12/06

Loc: Lat. 39.143345, Long. -77.1748...
Re: Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice....(cloud new [Re: skinnyonce]
      #5604776 - 01/04/13 01:15 PM

Must be a new scope, 2 week minimum cloud zone.

Clear Dark Skies
Startraffic
39.138274 -77.168898


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NeilMac
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 09/25/10

Loc: MedHat, AB, Canada
Re: Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice....(cloud new [Re: Startraffic]
      #5604900 - 01/04/13 02:19 PM

LOL I havent relied on the weather forecast for a very long time. Right now it indicts snow and as I look out the window its total clear sunny skies. My thermometer says +5, they say +1.
I keep my scope in the garage so i dont have to worry about climate.


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csrlice12
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 05/22/12

Loc: Denver, CO
Re: Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice....(cloud new [Re: NeilMac]
      #5605020 - 01/04/13 03:23 PM

All I know is that if it's clear out, there'll be something else that needs doing; if it's a night I have free, all the clouds show up to celebrate......

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wky46
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 12/12/05

Loc: west Ky.
Re: Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice....(cloud new [Re: csrlice12]
      #5605334 - 01/04/13 06:23 PM

Quote:

All I know is that if it's clear out, there'll be something else that needs doing; if it's a night I have free, all the clouds show up to celebrate......


Ain't that the truth! Beautiful clear evening tonight, but...I'm baby sitting 3, 4 and 7 yr. old girls til ten tonight. Maybe then, if only I can muster the strength

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northernontario
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 07/01/09

Loc: Porcupine, Ontario Canada
Re: Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice....(cloud new [Re: wky46]
      #5605350 - 01/04/13 06:38 PM

Crystal clear around 20:00. The weather channel gave me about a 3 hour window.

Rolled out the big guy, only to watch Jupiter disappear behind the clouds in a slow and painful fashion.

All in all, it took about 15 minutes.



jake


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kansas skies
sage


Reged: 12/02/12

Loc: Kansas, USA
Re: Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice....(cloud new [Re: northernontario]
      #5605917 - 01/05/13 01:46 AM

I for one am amazed at how accurate the Clear Sky Chart website seems to be in predicting seeing conditions in my area. Overall, I find it to be fairly reliable over a 36 hour window of time. Tonight, the forecast was for clouds to roll in and then break, at which time the transparency was to degrade. I figured that I had a two hour window of clear sky, so I hauled a hundred pounds worth of scope out to take advantage of what little time I had. Normally, I wouldn't have put this much effort into it, but I wanted to take a look at Jupiter (which was beautiful, btw). Later, and precisely at the time predicted, the clouds rolled in and obscured everything in the sky. A few minutes later, the clouds gave way to a thick haze and I was able to continue my observations for a little while longer through the haze. When the clouds started to thicken again, I packed it all in.

Bill


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Qwickdraw
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 03/03/12

Loc: Ann Arbor, MI
Re: Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice....(cloud new [Re: MessiToM]
      #5606193 - 01/05/13 09:32 AM

One word...

Observatory

Maybe two...

Cash


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csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice....(cloud new [Re: Qwickdraw]
      #5606256 - 01/05/13 10:23 AM

Quote:

One word...

Observatory

Maybe two...

Cash




No more shaming.


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