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California fires killing astronomy

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#51 LDW47

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Posted 14 September 2020 - 05:18 PM

The smoke pollution from your devastating fires has reached North Bay and beyond, the sun is just a dull haze ! Hang in there, our Canadian hopes and prayers are with you all !


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#52 byi

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Posted 14 September 2020 - 10:31 PM

For me (Chicago area) astrospheric's transparency is just a white bar (indicates "cloudy") for the foreseeable future. We will see how this evolves over the course of the week.

Same. :(  Looking at other aerosol and smoke maps, hoping it will get better later in the week as the mass of smoke moves southeast.

I'm curious what the skies actually look like for you under "cloudy" forecasts from smoke. Is astrospheric correct that it's really that bad? The thicker part of the plume has not quite reached over here yet (should later tonight), so I am wondering what to expect.



#53 Kevin Thurman

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Posted 14 September 2020 - 10:49 PM

Same. frown.gif  Looking at other aerosol and smoke maps, hoping it will get better later in the week as the mass of smoke moves southeast.

I'm curious what the skies actually look like for you under "cloudy" forecasts from smoke. Is astrospheric correct that it's really that bad? The thicker part of the plume has not quite reached over here yet (should later tonight), so I am wondering what to expect.

Last night was bad. Even the brightest stars in Cassiopeia were difficult to the naked eye. Polaris was absent. Tonight however is much better. Still bad, but doable at least for imaging. I can see most of the stars I normally do, admittedly with some difficulty for the dimmer ones, but the sky is noticeably "thick". M57 in my 10" dob just after dark looked about like what it used to do in my 5" but I think conditions were even a little worse then. I'd do more tests but I have packed all my gear up in the car. I would describe tonight as a 3 to 4 /10 or well below average for what I usually see but if this is how bad it will be for my dark sky trip I'm sure I will still be blown away by what photons i can collect with my cameras as well as my eyeballs. 

I hear there is potential relief on the west coast in the form of rain forecasting which is great to hear. I have friends there who almost got hit as well as some who had to evacuate. I have been checking this animated map from NOAA, seems to update about twice a day and shows how the smoke is devloping going a couple hours into the future (click on the eyeball next to "vertically integrated smoke" to see what's relevant to us in other areas of the country). It seems to be thinning out over me and moving pretty quickly with the jet stream out towards sea at least. The forecast it gave looked more grim this morning, but it has developed since then in what I would call an optimistic direction. The thickest levels of haze seem to disperse and break up before they arrive here mostly. Like I said it was much worse last night and I think it's possible that was just due to humidity moreso than smoke. If the fires do die down or get put out by rain or people, it seems based on the speeds the smoke is moving at that it should clear within a couple days if that.

https://hwp-viz.gsd....oke/index.html#


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#54 byi

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Posted 15 September 2020 - 10:05 AM

Last night was bad. Even the brightest stars in Cassiopeia were difficult to the naked eye. Polaris was absent. Tonight however is much better. Still bad, but doable at least for imaging. I can see most of the stars I normally do, admittedly with some difficulty for the dimmer ones, but the sky is noticeably "thick". M57 in my 10" dob just after dark looked about like what it used to do in my 5" but I think conditions were even a little worse then. I'd do more tests but I have packed all my gear up in the car. I would describe tonight as a 3 to 4 /10 or well below average for what I usually see but if this is how bad it will be for my dark sky trip I'm sure I will still be blown away by what photons i can collect with my cameras as well as my eyeballs. 

I hear there is potential relief on the west coast in the form of rain forecasting which is great to hear. I have friends there who almost got hit as well as some who had to evacuate. I have been checking this animated map from NOAA, seems to update about twice a day and shows how the smoke is devloping going a couple hours into the future (click on the eyeball next to "vertically integrated smoke" to see what's relevant to us in other areas of the country). It seems to be thinning out over me and moving pretty quickly with the jet stream out towards sea at least. The forecast it gave looked more grim this morning, but it has developed since then in what I would call an optimistic direction. The thickest levels of haze seem to disperse and break up before they arrive here mostly. Like I said it was much worse last night and I think it's possible that was just due to humidity moreso than smoke. If the fires do die down or get put out by rain or people, it seems based on the speeds the smoke is moving at that it should clear within a couple days if that.

https://hwp-viz.gsd....oke/index.html#

 

Thanks for the info. Certainly helps calibrate my planning. Oof. Rough. Hope your friends are safe and well, and best of luck with your trip! That's a neat map tool, thanks. Looking at astrospheric, RAP, and meteoblue, it seems likely there will be a good window in the northeast late in the week or over the weekend. We'll see.


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#55 earlyriser

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Posted 15 September 2020 - 11:53 AM

I could barely see the major constellations this morning despite clear skies. Based on the GeoColor animation (link below), it looks to me like smoke from the west coast is over much of Ohio, Indianna, and Kentucky. The smoke doesn't show up on the multi-spectral IR used for the night views, so I was at a loss as to why the sky was so hazy prior to sun up, and stayed out thinking things should clear up. Should have put the scope away and gone for a walk instead.  

 

https://www.star.nes...COLOR&length=24


Edited by earlyriser, 15 September 2020 - 11:54 AM.


#56 Achernar

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Posted 15 September 2020 - 11:56 AM

The smoke from these fires is spreading across the whole country. Skies here in coastal Alabama are sub-par to say the least transparency wise.

 

Taras



#57 Lukes1040

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Posted 15 September 2020 - 01:36 PM

Yup, this morning at 430 I was only able to see mars and a handful of other stars. Just when it was supposed to be clear!!!


I could barely see the major constellations this morning despite clear skies. Based on the GeoColor animation (link below), it looks to me like smoke from the west coast is over much of Ohio, Indianna, and Kentucky. The smoke doesn't show up on the multi-spectral IR used for the night views, so I was at a loss as to why the sky was so hazy prior to sun up, and stayed out thinking things should clear up. Should have put the scope away and gone for a walk instead.

https://www.star.nes...COLOR&length=24



#58 lakerunr

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Posted 15 September 2020 - 06:49 PM

Weather map shows no clouds within 200 miles of us (Southern WI), but at a half hour before sunset, sun can not be seen through smoke haze. No imaging tonight, again...



#59 Kevin_A

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Posted 15 September 2020 - 07:08 PM

Tried imaging last night as there were no clouds in the forecast.... but not many stars either to the naked eye.... my sub exposures were an unusual weird brown in colour and my Bortle 4 skies did not even show the usual Milky Way here in Ontario Canada...... smoke, smoke, smoke I guess.... image shows nothing but tiny star dots on a mud background and nothing else with a 60 second sub using fast f2.0 glass (1/3 histogram). Weirdest thang! hahaha

 

 

smokey.jpg


Edited by Kevin_A, 16 September 2020 - 07:39 AM.

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#60 bobhen

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Posted 16 September 2020 - 06:14 AM

Here in PA, Monday and Tuesday were forecast to be clear. I went out to check the sky but something didn’t look right. I live in heavy light pollution but this looked like a fog or something so I didn’t setup thinking that the forecast just got it wrong again.

 

The next morning the weatherman is talking about haze caused by the fires in CA.

 

I now have a guy-punching understanding (as opposed to an intellectual understanding) of how a meteor that tosses up a few trillion tons of material could have easily cause an extended, life-extinguishing global winter.

 

Bob



#61 BlueTrane2028

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Posted 16 September 2020 - 09:25 AM

Controlled burns would have solved a lot of the wildfire issues that are plaguing our country, not to mention lives... but politics doesn't allow that.  I'll stop there...

Here in Philadelphia, the only objects worth looking at poking through the haze are the Moon, Jupiter, Saturn and Mars.

I'm making the best I can of it, Mars is looking way better than last opposition even with the haze.  Just no point in looking for a dark sky spot and chasing some DSOs.



#62 RLK1

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Posted 16 September 2020 - 10:41 AM

Controlled burns would have solved a lot of the wildfire issues that are plaguing our country, not to mention lives... but politics doesn't allow that.  I'll stop there...

Here in Philadelphia, the only objects worth looking at poking through the haze are the Moon, Jupiter, Saturn and Mars.

I'm making the best I can of it, Mars is looking way better than last opposition even with the haze.  Just no point in looking for a dark sky spot and chasing some DSOs.

In California, most of the forested areas are on federal land. Try doing a controlled burn on that...


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#63 aa6ww

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Posted 16 September 2020 - 11:06 AM

I've always considered California Fires, a 5th Season. It usually fits in the Summer season. Its just acceptionally bad this year because of the electrical storms we had last month. 

The good news is the prediction for clear skies is improving. I saw Vega and Jupiter last night.

 

...Ralph



#64 SPQR0315!

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Posted 16 September 2020 - 04:26 PM

I live an hour NW of Chicago.  We have now had hazy sunshine each day for over a week.   No blue skies.   Sunsets are gorgeous.    Sadly, at night all I can see is Jupiter, Saturn, Arcturus and the Summer Triangle.   No Big Dipper, Cassiopeia or the other "usual suspects".  I was in Lake Geneva, WI earlier this week, which should have had better viewing, but did not.    Shame what is happening to all the beautiful areas of the coast and how the whole world is being impacted.  



#65 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 16 September 2020 - 05:03 PM

Eventually the smoke will dissipate. 

 

I'm on the eastern slope of the coast range a few miles north of the US-mexico border. Normally this is far enough south that we only get smoke from local fires and fires in Mexico.

 

The past week it's been different but it's clearing. Last night I saw the sunset against the horizon instead of not at all or into the smoke.

 

Last night I was the Milky Way and did some observing, not great, not even average for the high desert but it was something. I saw a few galaxies ~13th magnitude with the 16 inch.

 

Hopefully the entire country and world will clear.

 

Jon



#66 Kevin_A

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Posted 16 September 2020 - 07:15 PM

Can someone please invent a smoke pollution filter and while your at it.... a satellite pollution filter! hahahahha

I thought we had enough grief with equipment and clouds... OMG.... i never thought I would be praying for wind now... but I need this smoke to pass over already so I can image again....  my wife's TV choices are driving me nuts! hahahaha


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#67 Kevin Thurman

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Posted 17 September 2020 - 02:43 AM

Can someone please invent a smoke pollution filter and while your at it.... a satellite pollution filter! hahahahha

I thought we had enough grief with equipment and clouds... OMG.... i never thought I would be praying for wind now... but I need this smoke to pass over already so I can image again....  my wife's TV choices are driving me nuts! hahahaha

I don't think I've ever spent as much time trying to figure out if the sky is the right shade of blue during the day as I have the past few days.


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#68 Illinois

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Posted 17 September 2020 - 06:15 AM

Faint white hazy during sunny here and hard to see Milky Way at night. I can see Milky Way easily on normal night.  Hope smoke will go away soon. Probably few weeks and look like very slowly away if wildfire stop. 



#69 67Yosemite

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Posted 17 September 2020 - 08:14 AM

Only the sun and moon have been visible lately.it's been a couple weeks of ash snow and smoke so dense that mid day is often like twilight.... but I'm very near the fire, they only lifted the evacuation warning for my home a few days ago. I long to see a sky full of stars again and air I don't have to chew. 



#70 Tom K

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Posted 17 September 2020 - 09:30 AM

I have been waiting weeks for the smoke to clear here in San Diego County even though the only fire in our area is about 45 miles south of us.   As many have noted, you don't have to be right next to a fire to be impacted.

 

As I was reading this thread it reminded me of almost 30 years ago when Mt. Pinatubo erupted in the Philippines.  I remember observing with my old 2120 LX5 and a 10" newtonian along with my uncle at the time and we both were convinced that we could see degradation in our eyepieces from that eruption.

 

The post earlier about getting the late summer/early fall objects imaged earlier in anticipation of fire season here is probably good advice, sadly.



#71 Stardust Dave

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Posted 17 September 2020 - 11:48 AM

Fortune and clearer skies this AM with a 3 plus hour session at home in 13". (Class 4).smile.gif

Skies were not perfectly transparent .

Mars redness earlier evening was indicator of the very light smoke , much had dissipated by the time I went out at 1:00 AM

Still able to observe many galaxies in Pegasus Cetus Eridanus Aries and Pisces.  

 

Some of the best Mars viewing I've had .

Nice to catch a break and get some time in under the sky, only logged a few nights since last New Moon.

A new light dome that was formed by smoke over the area catching lights from the center of town was not present this AM's session.

 

I hope coming clear skies for the rest of you that have been smoked out- hang in there .



#72 LDW47

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Posted 17 September 2020 - 12:26 PM

Tried imaging last night as there were no clouds in the forecast.... but not many stars either to the naked eye.... my sub exposures were an unusual weird brown in colour and my Bortle 4 skies did not even show the usual Milky Way here in Ontario Canada...... smoke, smoke, smoke I guess.... image shows nothing but tiny star dots on a mud background and nothing else with a 60 second sub using fast f2.0 glass (1/3 histogram). Weirdest thang! hahaha

 

 

attachicon.gifsmokey.jpg

Terrible for all but a good one to keep as a bad reminder, for posterity ! 



#73 LDW47

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Posted 17 September 2020 - 12:27 PM

Today the morning skies look excellent, but this afternoon, who knows ?



#74 sparks

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Posted 17 September 2020 - 12:28 PM

From WV the cloud and moonless night was ruined by an almost imperceptible haze that made a Bortel class 2 sky look more like a 5 or 6. Considering how few clear, moonless nights we've had this summer it was especially painful after the 3 hour drive. Looks like it will linger until we get a front through or the jet stream changes.

 

Bummer



#75 LDW47

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Posted 17 September 2020 - 01:00 PM

The upper edge of the smoke trail, right now, is almost at the border between our 2 countries but that could change in a heart beat I would think and my area would be back into it ?




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