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#1 clarnibass

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Posted 16 September 2020 - 11:08 PM

Hi

 

I tried to observe (and possibly take photos) yesterday but there were no stars visible at all. I couldn't align my telescope. I only remember this happening when there are clouds... but there were no clouds. Jupiter, Mars and Saturn were completely visible all the time. I'm in just about the most light polluted area there is, but I remember always seeing the few more visible stars. This probably happened many times before and I just didn't notice since it wasn't on days I tried to observe.

 

What can cause that? Maybe just regular (non-light) pollution? I don't think it was more than usual but who knows. It was pretty humid, much more than it usually is here (it's a very dry city, in general), but last week I observed on a day that was more humid than yesterday.

 

Thanks

 

P.S. I'm not in the USA and there was no fire here.


Edited by clarnibass, 16 September 2020 - 11:15 PM.

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#2 DSOs4Me

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Posted 16 September 2020 - 11:12 PM

For me, it's been the smoke from the wildfires and I'm on the East coast.


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#3 gnowellsct

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Posted 16 September 2020 - 11:12 PM

Fire smoke blanketing the country.  I wanted to go out these past several nights but no deal.  I'm in upstate NY, the smoke is ruining the sky at a distance of 3000 miles.  Jupiter Saturn and Mars are bright enough to punch through.

 

Greg N


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#4 clarnibass

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Posted 16 September 2020 - 11:14 PM

I'm not in the US and there are no fires here. I'll add that to the OP to clarify.

 

Unless that fire is really causing that 9000km away from New York too?


Edited by clarnibass, 16 September 2020 - 11:18 PM.


#5 gnowellsct

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Posted 16 September 2020 - 11:28 PM

I'm not in the US and there are no fires here. I'll add that to the OP to clarify.

 

Unless that fire is really causing that 9000km away from New York too?

I read the smoke has reached Europe.   That is 9600 km.  There are other fires too.  We're just focused on the locals.  Last year there were huge fires in Siberia.



#6 mrlovt

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Posted 16 September 2020 - 11:32 PM

Light pollution or clouds, or both.  I didn't catch where you live.  Check this light pollution map:  http://www.lightpoll...FFFFFTFFFFFFFFF  If you are in a red/purple/white area then it's going to be tough to see any but the brightest stars.  Thin clouds will also block them, while letting enough light from bright planets through.



#7 gnowellsct

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Posted 16 September 2020 - 11:43 PM

This.  It's happened before guys.  I had Canadian fire smoke ruin a trip to the Adirondacks a couple years ago.  I mean, I had a good vacation, and the people who lost their homes were the true victims. But if the question is can smoke shut you down from thousands of miles away, yes it can.  The sky looks kind of dim and dirty.

 

Greg N



#8 Jim R

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Posted 16 September 2020 - 11:50 PM

Very smoky here in Illinois.  Getting frustrated: Cloudless nights, still no dice!


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#9 zxx

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Posted 17 September 2020 - 12:19 AM

Smoke here in Maryland also, they say Saturday a cold front will clear it out.


Edited by zxx, 17 September 2020 - 12:21 AM.


#10 clarnibass

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Posted 17 September 2020 - 01:21 AM

I'm in the Middle East. I guess it's possible but I don't think the smoke from the fires in the US got here. I would also expect that if it was the smoke (or smoke from another fire), it wouldn't look completely clear just before, yesterday noon/evening, and also in the morning today, with very clear blue sky.

 

I guess thin clouds are also possible, but seems strange that they would appear exactly when it was impossible to see them, but before it was dark enough to see stars, and cover the whole sky (I couldn't see the brightest stars anywhere, regardless of direction, not above me, etc.), while keeping the planets looking the same as pretty much any other night (just looking, not with the telescope).

I started looking before stars were supposed to be visible, then kept checking for a couple of hours, no change.

 

Is it possible that extra humidity could cause this? What about regular pollution?

I don't remember ever not being able to see stars like Vega, Altair, etc. when everything else looked "normal" but of course I don't check that all the time.



#11 sg6

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Posted 17 September 2020 - 01:48 AM

Add a location to your profile so that people have an idea where you are.

Really it needs to be a compulsary item as it is actually a lot more relevant then people think.

2/3 of your answers are "The California fires".

 

No stars: There are 3 cloud layers and although defined as "clear" I often find, especially recently, that there is at least partial cloud at one on the higher layers.

 

Last night I could see Vega, Deneb and Altair. The few with Deneb that start the "Cross" but nothing else. No Arcturus and no Jupiter or Saturn.

 

The high cloud form: Cirrostratus is a likey culprit. Can be fairly uniform in general appearance and when dark even less apparent/visible structure - they don't have much anyway. So throw in the height and the "darkness" I would blame them first. There are 2 others that look possible, Cirrus Fibratus and the third is too long to type.

 

At medium level there is Altostratus Translucidus, one other but I think that would be seen as cloud. Medium level being lower I half suspect you would recognise as "clouds", the high Cirrus ones often get "not seen".

 

But do add a location.



#12 Abhat

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Posted 17 September 2020 - 05:05 AM

Smoke here in Maryland also, they say Saturday a cold front will clear it out.

I am in Maryland as well. Really looking forward to that cold front so that I can get a last look at the Milky Way before moon starts to make its appearance.


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#13 Illinois

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Posted 17 September 2020 - 06:04 AM

I live about 50 miles from Iowa.  Agree about smoke from wildfire.  I see only bright stars and planets. Hard to see Milky Way! Easy to see Milky Way here but not this time and hope smoke be away in few weeks!  You can tell during the day is very faint white hazy in the sky during sunny and that is not good for at night to look at stars! 


Edited by Illinois, 17 September 2020 - 06:09 AM.

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#14 phillip

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Posted 17 September 2020 - 06:23 AM

Only last few days not out here in Northern Illinois. But have had some openings even noted the milky way, but certainly layers strong thin mist and then some. Sometimes partial areas will open. Planets always visible. One time tho was so bad early morning only see Venus and Mars! Actually had a decent observation on the red planet as it otherwise glares in brightness, smoky filter gave amazing looks, LOL, 

 

Clear perhaps tonight, sure tho it won't be spectacular, but definitely check things out, Jupiter's GRS out near Transit! 

 

Clear Sky

 

XT10

Pentax 7mm awesome looks!  


Edited by phillip, 17 September 2020 - 06:24 AM.


#15 Rapidray

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Posted 17 September 2020 - 07:48 AM

Last night was lite clouds again. Even Orion’s M42 was just barley there. As was M45. Couldn’t even find Andromeda.  


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#16 BrettG

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Posted 17 September 2020 - 07:55 AM

Humidity?  I know not likely in the Middle East - but it's what came to mind after fire smoke has been ruled out.



#17 BrooksObs

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Posted 17 September 2020 - 09:17 AM

Hardly the first time this has happened in my experience. Several years back we went through the same situation here in the Northeast due to forest fires on the left coast and in Canada. Considering the magnitude of this year's fires, I'd anticipate that this smoke situation is going to last for many weeks to come. Remember, their "Fire Season" out there is just beginning, so we're likely have a long road ahead of us! Likewise, this is probably going to become much more the norm out on the coast as the climate reverts to more arid conditions, which had been predicted long before "climate change" ever became a serious question.

 

Still, this is nothing compared with the smoke/dust cloud I recall that was generated by Mount Saint Helens during the  mid May of 1980 eruption. Following that event the debris cloud reached the east coast 4-5 days later and for a stretch of several weeks the sky was so contaminated that the Sun would disappear completely each day when still 15-20 degrees above the horizon! If you think that celestial objects are impacted now, it was nothing to what you saw back then!

 

BrooksObs


Edited by BrooksObs, 17 September 2020 - 10:25 AM.


#18 rhetfield

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Posted 17 September 2020 - 01:05 PM

Fire smoke blanketing the country.  I wanted to go out these past several nights but no deal.  I'm in upstate NY, the smoke is ruining the sky at a distance of 3000 miles.  Jupiter Saturn and Mars are bright enough to punch through.

 

Greg N

For me, it is Jupiter, Vega, and Venus that punch through.  Sometimes Saturn and Mars manage also.  Not much else other than the big bright day orb on occasion - often a red color rather than the normal yellow.



#19 gnowellsct

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Posted 17 September 2020 - 07:17 PM

Hardly the first time this has happened in my experience. Several years back we went through the same situation here in the Northeast due to forest fires on the left coast and in Canada. Considering the magnitude of this year's fires, I'd anticipate that this smoke situation is going to last for many weeks to come. Remember, their "Fire Season" out there is just beginning, so we're likely have a long road ahead of us! Likewise, this is probably going to become much more the norm out on the coast as the climate reverts to more arid conditions, which had been predicted long before "climate change" ever became a serious question.

 

Still, this is nothing compared with the smoke/dust cloud I recall that was generated by Mount Saint Helens during the  mid May of 1980 eruption. Following that event the debris cloud reached the east coast 4-5 days later and for a stretch of several weeks the sky was so contaminated that the Sun would disappear completely each day when still 15-20 degrees above the horizon! If you think that celestial objects are impacted now, it was nothing to what you saw back then!

 

BrooksObs

Just wait till the Yellowstone caldera blows.  That will block the skies a bit.


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#20 BrooksObs

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Posted 17 September 2020 - 11:04 PM

Just wait till the Yellowstone caldera blows.  That will block the skies a bit.

 

True enough, but I've read that it could occur sometime in the course of the next 100,000 years, so we'll all likely be gone well before it actually does blow. The progressive increase in west coast forest fires, on the other hand, will probably be witnessed in its initial stages while we're still around to see for ourselves!

 

BrooksObs 



#21 clarnibass

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Posted 17 September 2020 - 11:05 PM

Humidity?  I know not likely in the Middle East - but it's what came to mind after fire smoke has been ruled out.

Depends where. My city is usually pretty dry, but lately it's very humid (can change daily, very dry one day, very humid the next). So it was absurdly humid (I don't remember a more humid summer here). Another city just an hour away is always very humid. The Middle East has both very dry and very humid areas.

 

By the way I tried again yesterday, and even though results were not great... I could clearly see Altair and Antares at the same time they were invisible the day before.


Edited by clarnibass, 17 September 2020 - 11:06 PM.

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#22 SonnyE

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Posted 17 September 2020 - 11:27 PM

How far out of focus is your telescope?

 

Because if it is very far out, you won't be able to see anything through your telescope.

 

I use a refractor. And 80 mm which is small as telescopes go. But I can focus on a  Powerline Tower about a mile away, and count the threads on a bolt in daylight.

 

You are in a bad time to use the Moon. But... the Moon is your focusing friend when starting out. It's so huge and bright that it is easy to see if you are in the ballpark.

But tonight is a new moon, 0% illumination.

 

If you can, pick a distant light, and see if you can bring it into focus. You might have to run your focuser the full length of it's travel. But somewhere along the way you should be able to make out a bright spot and see it slowly come into focus.



#23 gnowellsct

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Posted 17 September 2020 - 11:35 PM

Last night was lite clouds again. Even Orion’s M42 was just barley there. As was M45. Couldn’t even find Andromeda.  

Barley there!  And my wife was talking to me tonight that it had been a long time since I made barley stew.  WHAT DOES IT MEAN.



#24 clarnibass

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Posted 18 September 2020 - 03:22 AM

How far out of focus is your telescope?

Assuming that was a reply to my OP, then to clarify I meant I couldn't see them by eye, not with the telescope.



#25 rhetfield

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Posted 18 September 2020 - 03:25 PM

I'm in the Middle East. I guess it's possible but I don't think the smoke from the fires in the US got here. I would also expect that if it was the smoke (or smoke from another fire), it wouldn't look completely clear just before, yesterday noon/evening, and also in the morning today, with very clear blue sky.

 

I guess thin clouds are also possible, but seems strange that they would appear exactly when it was impossible to see them, but before it was dark enough to see stars, and cover the whole sky (I couldn't see the brightest stars anywhere, regardless of direction, not above me, etc.), while keeping the planets looking the same as pretty much any other night (just looking, not with the telescope).

I started looking before stars were supposed to be visible, then kept checking for a couple of hours, no change.

 

Is it possible that extra humidity could cause this? What about regular pollution?

I don't remember ever not being able to see stars like Vega, Altair, etc. when everything else looked "normal" but of course I don't check that all the time.

Sandstorm somewhere shooting stuff up high?  Not heard of any warfare heating up in the area or any volcanos.  What way do the winds blow.  Could it be something from India or Africa?




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