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General Astronomy >> General Observing and Astronomy

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Phillip Creed
Idiot Seeking Village
*****

Reged: 07/25/06

Loc: Canton, OH
Re: Summer Observing In US Northeast - Is it Possible? new [Re: amicus sidera]
      #5972774 - 07/15/13 05:35 PM Attachment (12 downloads)

Quote:

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 (c) 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


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Phillip Creed
Idiot Seeking Village
*****

Reged: 07/25/06

Loc: Canton, OH
Re: Summer Observing In US Northeast - Is it Possible? new [Re: Phillip Creed]
      #5972793 - 07/15/13 05:46 PM Attachment (14 downloads)

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


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BrooksObs
professor emeritus


Reged: 12/08/12

Re: Summer Observing In US Northeast - Is it Possible? new [Re: Phillip Creed]
      #5975580 - 07/17/13 08:53 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

Edited by BrooksObs (07/17/13 08:58 AM)


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amicus sidera
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 10/14/11

Loc: East of the Sun, West of the M...
Re: Summer Observing In US Northeast - Is it Possible? [Re: BrooksObs]
      #5976008 - 07/17/13 01:30 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


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Greyhaven
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 05/11/04

Loc: Greater downtown Maine
Re: Summer Observing In US Northeast - Is it Possible? new [Re: amicus sidera]
      #5976807 - 07/17/13 08:48 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.
Be Well
Grey


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BrooksObs
professor emeritus


Reged: 12/08/12

Re: Summer Observing In US Northeast - Is it Possible? new [Re: Greyhaven]
      #5977704 - 07/18/13 11:18 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


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star drop
contra contrail
*****

Reged: 02/02/08

Loc: Snow Plop, WNY
Re: Summer Observing In US Northeast - Is it Possible? new [Re: BrooksObs]
      #5981142 - 07/20/13 10:13 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.

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Dave M
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 08/03/04

Loc: Ohio
Re: Summer Observing In US Northeast - Is it Possible? new [Re: Phillip Creed]
      #5981454 - 07/20/13 01:34 PM

How "true" that is

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roscoe
curmudgeon
*****

Reged: 02/04/09

Loc: NW Mass, inches from VT
Re: Summer Observing In US Northeast - Is it Possible? new [Re: star drop]
      #5983644 - 07/21/13 09:03 PM

Quote:

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


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JoeR
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 03/07/10

Loc: Columbus, OH
Re: Summer Observing In US Northeast - Is it Possible? new [Re: roscoe]
      #5984775 - 07/22/13 04:54 PM

Quote:

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.


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