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REALLY, REALLY, REALLY SICK OF CLOUDY NIGHT - THE WEATHER THAT IS...

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#126 roofkid

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Posted 16 March 2019 - 03:51 AM

I can relate to you guys. Funnily enough it's the same thing in Germany half a globe away ...



#127 cfosterstars

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Posted 19 March 2019 - 08:12 PM

Well last night was a "good" imaging session for this year in Texas. I got 11 4-minute frames of SII from the running man - thats it. That was the sum total of imaging so far in March. For the year, I have a few LUM and SII images from the Running man, but still need about 3.5 hours on those filters to complete them for the target. I now only get about 2 hours where the RM is even visible from my scope - that is when its "clear" - which is about never. Well another multi year mosaic project!!  This has been the worst I have seen. I am back to reprocessing data since thats all that I can do. I retook all my extensive dark libraries - hey why not - since a cap scope is never impacted by clouds. MAN THIS JUST SUCKs....


Edited by cfosterstars, 19 March 2019 - 08:13 PM.


#128 Jon Rista

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Posted 19 March 2019 - 11:35 PM

https://agupubs.onli...02/2016JA022689

 

For those interested...one of the more detailed and informative studies on the subject of cloud cover and its link to cosmic radiation levels and solar activity. In a nutshell, low solar activity = higher cosmic radiation interacting with the atmosphere = more cloud cover...



#129 Umasscrew39

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Posted 20 March 2019 - 05:19 AM

https://agupubs.onli...02/2016JA022689

 

For those interested...one of the more detailed and informative studies on the subject of cloud cover and its link to cosmic radiation levels and solar activity. In a nutshell, low solar activity = higher cosmic radiation interacting with the atmosphere = more cloud cover...

Thanks Jon.  I was aware of this (very good article) but it doesn't make me feel any better frown.gif.  Hopefully, things will change soon. 


Edited by Umasscrew39, 20 March 2019 - 05:19 AM.


#130 my-spot

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Posted 20 March 2019 - 11:05 AM

Take a close look at my user photo. I call it the Great Lakes Nebula. I think it says it all.



#131 APshooter

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Posted 20 March 2019 - 05:34 PM

This is the first March in about three years or so we've had uncharacteristically clear nights. I've been able to image on four of the last five nights consecutive with my new Rasa 8. We've got two days of rain, then another day and a half of clear skies. I hope I don't jinx it!

#132 cfosterstars

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Posted 20 March 2019 - 08:56 PM

I just have more views of the Great Texas Nebula.



#133 Astrola72

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Posted 20 March 2019 - 09:49 PM

https://agupubs.onli...02/2016JA022689

 

For those interested...one of the more detailed and informative studies on the subject of cloud cover and its link to cosmic radiation levels and solar activity. In a nutshell, low solar activity = higher cosmic radiation interacting with the atmosphere = more cloud cover...

Ok, so how long does a solar minimum last, 2 to 3 years? And we're about a year into the current minimum, which matches the timeline of this thread. I'm guessing this will ultimately be a very long thread!

 

Joe



#134 Jon Rista

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Posted 20 March 2019 - 11:44 PM

Ok, so how long does a solar minimum last, 2 to 3 years? And we're about a year into the current minimum, which matches the timeline of this thread. I'm guessing this will ultimately be a very long thread!

 

Joe

I'm not talking about a normal solar minimum on the "11 year" sunspot cycle....I am talking about a solar superminimum, on the scale of decades/hundreds of years. So, if we are about to enter a superminimum part of the longer term solar cycle, then the outlook...from a weather standpoint...really doesn't look good. I don't mean just over the next few years....I mean, over the longer term, and long term being not just 11 years... Just be warned here, if you keep reading. From an astrophotography standpoint...the rest here is going to be... depressing. shrug.gif ohmy.gif

 

This is a subject I've been interested in for years, and I've been following the solar cycles with great interest for some time now. The last solar maximum (there were actually two peaks, late 2011, 2014) on the short cycles was actually relatively weak, peaking at under 100 sunspots. Historical maximums reach as high as 300 sunspots and may even surpass that, so <100 sunspots is a fairly weak maximum. Standard solar cycles are actually ~22 years long, not 11. Each solar cycle corresponds to a particular polarity. Cycles start at the solar poles and migrate towards the solar equator. New cycles will start, opposite polarity, at the poles while the current cycle is still ongoing at the equator, and their overlap results in the more commonly known ~11 year period of sunspot minimums and maximums. 

 

The last time we were on this part of a longer-period solar supercycle (which is believed to be primarily driven by the orbits of the gas giants in our solar system, although there are even longer-period solar cycles that supposedly span as much as 1500-2000 years as well, and there can be perturbations in the exact timing of megacycles, supercycles, and standard cycles) was a few hundred years ago (1650-1850), and it resulted in a what is called a "prolonged minimum" of sunspot activity that was named the Maunder minimum which lasted decades (almost 70 years), followed by a spurt of higher activity which was followed up by the Dalton minimum which lasted about 30 years. Maunder minimum was a period with almost no solar activity. Weather sucked. Temperatures plummeted, to the point where rivers were frozen during summer for a time (i.e. the little ice age). Sunspot counts over an observational period of about 30 years resulted in a total count of just 50, whereas more normal sunspot counts for the same timespan during more average solar activity number in the tens of thousands. The Dalton minimum had two short cycle peaks (~11 years) around 50 sunspots each. The Maunder minimum followed the supercycle's previous maximum, which corresponded with the medieval warm period (which was actually a good deal warmer than modern peaks, by ~2C, and may have been a prolonged solar peak).

 

The current supercycle maximum technically peaked between the 1930s through the late 90s, with a dip in the late 60s, 70s and early 80s. This super-cycle peak as such could be considered bi-modal. Predictions have been for Solar Cycle 25 to be one of extremely low activity, with fewer than 50 sunspots during its peak, which would be lower than any in the last TWENTY solar cycles, or about since 1780! We actually just had our first sunspots crop up on the 18th and 20th, after a lul of over a month without any sunspots at all. Both of these spots were associated with the fading Solar Cycle 24, not with cycle 25. That is boding well for solar cycle forecasters, but it bodes pretty bad for us astrophotographers if their predictions end up being true. We may actually have one last "hurrah" before another "prolonged sunspot minimum" actually occurs, as if Solar Cycle 25 peaks with around 50 sunspots that would be better than having only 50 sunspots total over the next 30 years! SC25 would peak within about 4-6 years from now. After that...well, it could be 30 years or so before we have any meaningful solar activity again. If we end up with only tens of sunspots over that entire period, that would mean cloud cover levels will be higher over that entire prolonged period. It also means other rather dire effects from a climate standpoint as well, but I really don't want to delve into "climate" on this forum...too politically charged. tongue2.gif

 

So, to delve into the recent sunspots a bit deeper...especially todays, which was interesting. (And, maybe, those of you interested enough might find another hobby to occupy your time during the long cloudy night to come...) The recent spot on the 18th was weak and produced no flares. The spot that formed today was slightly stronger, and produced some weak B and C flares and a CME. CMEs are what we need to filter out cosmic rays and reduce cloud cover. ;P Now, interesting thing here, the article I linked previously discussed Forbush decreases, or FDs, that are an atmospheric consequence of CMEs from the sun interacting with our atmosphere. The article notes that the "signal" in statistically relevant cloud factors changes over a period spanning 3-13 days after a FD, most commonly peaking around 6-11 days, or about a week after. It takes a few days on average for CMEs to reach the earth, and the one today occurred at...well, around 5pm Mountain Standard Time according to my alert. This has a "weak" earth-directed component, so it wasn't directed strait at us, so any resulting FD will also be that much weaker. The FD from this CME might initially occur 2-4 days from now. If that FD has any meaningful impact, we should see a slight lowering of cloudcover levels starting about a week from now and continuing out up to another week. That is, IF this CME is strong enough to cause an FD that has an impact larger than mechanically directed changes in cloud cover.

 

Given this CME had a weak earth directed component to it, my guess is mechanical forces will overpower the effects of any FD, and we won't be able to notice the effect of the FD overall.  In other words, any impact on (reduction of) cloud cover from this particular CME will basically be like "noise" in the overall cloud "signal". Nevertheless....it'll be interesting to watch and see. We haven't had enough solar activity for some time now for there to be many CMEs, so I haven't had much opportunity to observe the results. And, sadly, a lot of CMEs have only weak earth-directed components, many have none. It is relatively rare, particularly in this part of the sunspot cycle, for there to be true earth-directed CMEs, the kind that would create a strong FD that could result in a stronger reduction in cloud cover. Beyond that, only during solar maximums can enough CMEs with earth-directed components occur that multiple FDs could overlap each other, resulting in extended and compounded cloud cover reduction...which, as astrophotographers, is what we really want to see!  

 

Interestingly, I got into AP during 2014. I remember 2014 and in part 2015 having a lot of clear nights! I remember 2014 in particular...sadly, the year I knew the least about AP (!!)...having a ton of clear nights. For as little as I knew, one thing I knew even back then was "stick with your targets"...and I remember imaging lots of stuff in Cygnus over and over and over, night after night for weeks on end through the end of summer and early fall. It wasn't until more recently that I understood the true nature of Solar Cycle 24. SC24 was actually "bi-modal". By that, I mean that it had two notable sunspot peaks. One occurred at the very end of 2011 and the first few weeks of 2012. Then sunspot levels leveled off a little, averaging around 60-70 for a couple years, then peaked again at the very end of 2013, through mid 2014, then trailed off back to around 60 again by the beginning of 2015. We have been below 50 sunspots, actually below 30 sunspots (which are monthly counts) since 2016, and the last few months we have been around 5 or fewer. And cloud cover seems to be following the trend...the number of clear nights I have had have been decreasing steadily since I first got into the hobby. Last year, for almost five strait months, I had only 5 actually "clear" nights, and most of those were on nights with a full moon. I had a grand total of 7 clear nights over that five month span (which was from mid Jan through mid June), but some of the nights were not totally clear. 

 

I am also convinced that there must be some kind of lunar link to cloud cover as well. tongue2.gif The sheer number of nights that are totally crystal clear when there is a full moon cannot be ignored. Of course, I have not found any specific scientific evidence of this...but, I don't know if anyone other than us astrophotographers has noticed the link, either. wink.gif Tonight, for example...I've got LRGB filters on my camera...and...it's a full moon. Intriguingly, there IS a lunar factor that plays a role in longer term cycles of weather and climate. This does have scientific backing, and it is called the 18.6 year Lunar Cycle. The science here covers weather patterns over a two decade period of time, and the lunar cycle interacts with the standard solar cycle, which is part of the reason we don't see sunspots peak like clockwork exactly every 11 years, and why we sometimes see bimodality in sunspot peaks, etc. There are groups that use the lunar cycle to make long-term weather predictions with pretty darn good accuracy as well, too. Farmer's Almanac is one. There is also a wizard in Australia that...sadly, given what they are going through...nailed their forecast starting decades ago as well. So the science behind the lunar cycle is pretty solid. Anyway...

 

I guess that is enough depressing news for now...


Edited by Jon Rista, 20 March 2019 - 11:52 PM.


#135 Astrola72

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Posted 21 March 2019 - 08:59 AM

He warned me and yet I read on ...frown.gif



#136 NorthField

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Posted 21 March 2019 - 09:17 AM

looks like i picked a bad week to stop sniffin glue  crazy.gif


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#137 cfosterstars

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Posted 21 March 2019 - 07:50 PM

Well I am going to try again tonight but the clouds are still here. We will see if I can get anything! Its so frustrating. If I did not have a semi-permanent setup and had to set up each night, I would likely not be in the hobby anymore.



#138 rlsarma

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Posted 21 March 2019 - 09:50 PM

Frustrated with the sky condition in my town (Lat: 27 deg N, Long: 95 deg E). Since more than 30 days, the sky has been remaining practically cloudy with occasional raining. I am afraid the galaxy season will be over if the situations will remain like this. I was not able to image during the galaxy season last year also. 

 

Rajib 



#139 CCD-Freak

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Posted 22 March 2019 - 09:04 AM

Like Jon mentioned above......I have noticed the correlation of clear sky at Full Moon and clouds at New Moon.  I can't explain it but I have seen it. )^8

 

Back to rain in the forecast starting tonight.

 

 

 

John Love

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WD5IKX



#140 Jon Rista

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Posted 30 March 2019 - 02:29 PM

I mentioned a while back that a CME had occurred due to the ONE sunspot group on the sun. That was on the 20th. That CME took ~4 days to arrive at earth, which produced Aurora on the 24th/25th. The arrival of that CME coincides with an FD, Forbush Decrease in cosmic radiation, as the CME sweeps away some cosmic radiation. The reduction in cosmic radiation, according to the article I linked, can result in a reduction in cloud cover by several percent. The potential for that reduction peaks 6-11 days after the FD. The sixth day since the CME reached earth on the 24th is today/tonight. 

 

SO...I would keep an eye out for clear skies. And, clear skies CONTRARY to what the forecast says, since FD-influenced changes in cloud cover are NOT part of any existing weather prediction models. This was a weakish CME with a weakish FD, so the effect may not be very strong, although the Aurora ended up being stronger than anticipated. Anyway, there is a chance...and it would not be a chance accounted for in normal weather forecasts, so use your eyeballs. ;) 



#141 pyrasanth

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Posted 31 March 2019 - 11:49 AM

I have the most powerful weather forecasting model.....I look out of the window...seems more accurate that the forecasts I find online.


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