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Smoky Skies!

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#126 Oscar56

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Posted 04 August 2021 - 02:51 PM

 Any requests? 

 

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Please turn to the east and blow hard. 


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#127 bunyon

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Posted 04 August 2021 - 08:18 PM

I was staying around mt St. Helens the last few nights and the western edge of the smoke was apparent. I had a niceish night on Monday but the transparency was poor. Moving East to west the sky went from blue to white or vice versa.

I suspect the Oregon Star Party would have been bust even if they’d permitted it to go on.
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#128 vsteblina

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Posted 04 August 2021 - 09:43 PM

Image from the National Weather Service, west coast satellite from a couple of hours ago. 

 

 

To get a sense of how large those fire columns are in California place your state boundaries over northern California.  All of that smoke is probably heading east for the next several days. 

 

Now imagine living under one of those columns as the fire approaches.

 

 

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Edited by vsteblina, 04 August 2021 - 09:44 PM.


#129 dustyc

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Posted 05 August 2021 - 11:10 AM

I was looking at the GOES WEST feed this AM. Looks pretty bad there.  A gold rush town was burned to the ground. 



#130 wxcloud

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Posted 05 August 2021 - 12:52 PM

Smoke is supposed to thin out tonight extremely late like early morning for a little bit and more supposed to move back in :(

Might have a small window to fiddle with a rig but unsure which direction to take. Not sure if data collection might be feasible or if it'll be worth it. Actually kind of wish the moon was visible tonight for some quicky imaging.

Wonder if fall is going to help clear the atmosphere.

Edited by wxcloud, 05 August 2021 - 12:52 PM.


#131 John Fitzgerald

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Posted 05 August 2021 - 02:33 PM

Smoke is supposed to thin out tonight extremely late like early morning for a little bit and more supposed to move back in 

Might have a small window to fiddle with a rig but unsure which direction to take. Not sure if data collection might be feasible or if it'll be worth it. Actually kind of wish the moon was visible tonight for some quicky imaging.

Wonder if fall is going to help clear the atmosphere.

The thing that would clear out the smoke for the eastern half of the US would be a tropical storm landfall somewhere southwest of Houston.  But, let's not wish for that.  Probably, what's really needed is a line of rains across the west that dump about eight inches over three or four days.

 

Edit: Engage all weather controls. HAARP, etccrazy.gif crazy.gif


Edited by John Fitzgerald, 05 August 2021 - 03:09 PM.


#132 LDW47

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Posted 05 August 2021 - 08:28 PM

Smoke map for 0600Z Aug 5th.  Tonight for all N. American time zones.  10pm to 2am local depending on where you are....

 

May i suggest a nice scotch and some old Nat King Cole?

 

attachicon.gifScreen Shot 2021-08-04 at 12.17.00 PM.jpg

 

Dave

I'm in the light yellow, I'm with you, good old Nat never looked so good, lol



#133 vsteblina

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Posted 05 August 2021 - 10:06 PM

For those interested in the topic of reducing fire risk in the west.....here is a good ecological introduction to the topic.

 

https://www.youtube....h?v=EYp33ojpW5g

 

For those back east the scale of the fires that she discusses are:

 

Carlton Complex................256.000 acres

Tripod Complex.................175,184 acres

Okanogan Complex...........304,872 acres

 

Total acres burned in three fires.......736,056 acres  

 

Total acreage burned in the county since 2000 I guess is in the neighborhood 2 million acres plus.

 

To give you a sense of scale out west.....those three fires ended up the size of Rhode Island.

 

Okanogan County is as large as the state of Connecticut.  Okanogan County is  the 54th largest county in the US.  


Edited by vsteblina, 05 August 2021 - 10:07 PM.


#134 John Fitzgerald

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Posted 06 August 2021 - 09:36 PM

Tonight, I estimated the extinction from smoke to be 2.5 magnitudes in the zenith, and more than 4 magnitudes at 10 degrees elevation, here in N. Arkansas.  At zenith, that's roughly equal to stopping a 10 inch (254mm) telescope down to about 80mm.  I can barely see Polaris naked eye.  It looks fifth magnitude.  Not worth setting up, to me.



#135 Crankyanken

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Posted 07 August 2021 - 01:09 PM

The Four Corners is getting thick smoke now, I have been debating on setting up tonight or not.  My spot-light happy neighbor left town and forgot to leave all their lights on for once, so at least I got one evening of decent viewing. 



#136 AstroFalcon

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Posted 08 August 2021 - 10:22 PM

The smoke continues to be exceptionally bad here in Colorado. I haven't set up my scope in forever.  Maybe come the fall the fires and associated smoke with stop... Based off last year, I'm not holding my breath for that to happen.



#137 LDW47

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Posted 09 August 2021 - 05:32 PM

The other nite when you opened the door it smelled like back in the 50's when I was a kid, everyone had wood stoves to cook on, even though many had electric, many preferred the taste of wood cooking  The air, your nostrils were filled with that wood smell and I am many hundreds of miles from the nearest fire



#138 mrflibbles

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Posted 09 August 2021 - 06:36 PM

The good news is: there is a low pressure trough pushing the smoke away, here in Calgary. 

 

The bad news is: it brought clouds with it lol.gif bawling.gif lol.gif bawling.gif So I still can't see the sky waytogo.gif lol.gif



#139 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 09 August 2021 - 09:14 PM

The smoke is quite thick here tonight and the transparency is terrible as a result.  Collinder 399 (the Coathanger) was barely visible through Canon IS 15x50s.

 

https://www.ospo.noa.../currenthms.jpg



#140 Migwan

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Posted 10 August 2021 - 07:56 AM

I've been wondering if all the smoke effects the jet stream.  I searched for that, but didn't manage any consideration of it.   Sure seems like the jet has been broken and setting some weird patterns this summer.  

 

Had some luck for catching a smokeless or near smokeless night by watching Metcheck and looking for air masses coming from the general direction of NE.  i.e. Hudson Bay/Northern/Quebec toward the upper half of the northern lower peninsula of MI.   Luck has it, that is also a prescription for the best chance of good seeing.

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Edited by Migwan, 10 August 2021 - 07:57 AM.


#141 LDW47

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Posted 10 August 2021 - 09:17 AM

I've been wondering if all the smoke effects the jet stream.  I searched for that, but didn't manage any consideration of it.   Sure seems like the jet has been broken and setting some weird patterns this summer.  

 

Had some luck for catching a smokeless or near smokeless night by watching Metcheck and looking for air masses coming from the general direction of NE.  i.e. Hudson Bay/Northern/Quebec toward the upper half of the northern lower peninsula of MI.   Luck has it, that is also a prescription for the best chance of good seeing.

In my location NE-E weather usually means clouds and rain due to the counter clockwise rotations of the weather system ie. low pressure


Edited by LDW47, 10 August 2021 - 09:19 AM.


#142 Migwan

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Posted 10 August 2021 - 12:50 PM

In my location NE-E weather usually means clouds and rain due to the counter clockwise rotations of the weather system ie. low pressure

My bad, I should have been clearer.  By "air mass" I mean both upper and lower level winds.  I was not considering the counter rotation we sometimes get after a front has moved through. 

 

Seriously, I would not bother to even look for clear skies in such weather, much less seeing.  Besides, even then, the air mass overall is still moving eastward, despite a NE ground level wind.  Check the upper level winds next time.  Generally they are anywhere from WSW to WNW.   It's similar to that eastward wind that generally brings that front in.

 

I've had 4 nights so far this summer with seeing 4 to 5/5 with Pickering Scales at or above 7/10.  Two with 9/10.  Three had the "air mass" as a whole moving generally NE to SW and had transparencies of at least 4/5 with NELMs above 6.35.   One night had NNW low level winds, some smoke and transparency of 3/5.   Those dates were;   6/17/21 AM,  7/1/21 AM,  7/9/21 PM &  7/31/21 PM.

 

Want a bump if I happen to see one coming?  You're right in that line with me.   Otherwise, just look for a NW breeze expected to continue or calm during the night with the upper level winds also turned.


Edited by Migwan, 10 August 2021 - 12:51 PM.


#143 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 10 August 2021 - 05:43 PM

While observing the gas giants last night with my “quick look” 6” Orion Dob, I was only able to catch a few brief glimpses of Titan due to the smoky conditions.



#144 mountain monk

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Posted 10 August 2021 - 08:16 PM

Gros Ventre River at the edge of Jackson Hole two days ago:

 

IMG_1403.jpg

 

Dark skies

 

Jack


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#145 LDW47

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Posted 10 August 2021 - 09:16 PM

Gros Ventre River at the edge of Jackson Hole two days ago:

 

attachicon.gifIMG_1403.jpg

 

Dark skies

 

Jack

Unreal



#146 Cfeastside

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Posted 12 August 2021 - 08:00 AM

Ugh I haven’t used the scopes for two months due to smoke and monsoons.  Hoping for cleare skies if only for abit.  Monsoons forecasted for this weekend though.  Local fires wont be out til the first snow fall in oct or nov unfortunately.  This hobby is tough!



#147 Older Padawan

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Posted 12 August 2021 - 01:43 PM

I agree AstroFalcon up here in northern Colorado it's been horrible since about May. I was really looking forward to some warm nights viewing some incredible sights but it's just not worth setting up to see smoke and nothing else. Come on fall and rain or snow. Here's to CLEAR SKIES!

The smoke continues to be exceptionally bad here in Colorado. I haven't set up my scope in forever.  Maybe come the fall the fires and associated smoke with stop... Based off last year, I'm not holding my breath for that to happen.



#148 CeeKay

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Posted 12 August 2021 - 06:43 PM

The smoke has filtered back into the area today... starting to cough a little more over the last 24 hours.  Doesn't help that the temps are back up over 100* yesterday and today and expected to last until Saturday afternoon.

 

Was able to do some viewing early in the AM here, even this morning (got to see Orion rising at 5:00 local time).  Looks like that's out of the picture for the next few days.



#149 csa/montana

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Posted 14 August 2021 - 08:43 AM

While the smoke continues to be bad here, many fires in the State, along with those on the West coast; I would rather suffer the smoke than have to be evacuated, and wonder if you have a home to come back to.

 

The two times I've had to be evacuated; my astronomy equipment was the last thing on my mind. 


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#150 Sketcher

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Posted 14 August 2021 - 12:47 PM

While the smoke continues to be bad here, many fires in the State, along with those on the West coast; I would rather suffer the smoke than have to be evacuated, and wonder if you have a home to come back to.

 

The two times I've had to be evacuated; my astronomy equipment was the last thing on my mind. 

We had to evacuate one year -- to a town 40 to 50 miles away.  The whole time we were there, that town was without electricity (wildfires can burn / destroy the poles that hold up the lines).  Only one gas station in that town (which had two gas stations) had a generator, allowing them to remain operational.  We topped off our tanks.

.

That particular fire had started some 40 to 50 miles on one side of us.  The town we evacuated to was a similar distance on the other side of us.  After two or three days we got another wake-up.  At a town meeting, that town we had evacuated to was put on notice to prepare to evacuate.  "Our" fire was now threatening the town we had evacuated to.  At that point in time, we (my wife, myself and a neighboring husband and wife) jointly decided to go back to our homes.  We weren't prepared to evacuate again from the same fire.  The fire had passed (and spared) our homes; yet, the evacuation (from that area) hadn't yet been lifted.  So . . .

 

We got in touch with the authorities, explained the situation, and got approval to return.  But we couldn't return by the same route that we had taken to arrive there -- the fire was active along that route.  So, together with the authorities, we planned a "safe" route that we could take back to our homes.  Two families and four vehicles traveled together for our return trip.  We stopped for gas somewhere around the half-way point -- in a town that had electricity!  (Remember, we hadn't had electricity for a few days -- not at home when we left, and not in the town we had evacuated to.

 

This journey took place at night.  My reaction to seeing lights, many un-shielded, (at our gas stop) was very very uncharacteristic for this long-time amateur astronomer who's lived out in the middle of nowhere for the past few decades.  I even made a comment to the clerk at the gas station (who probably thought I was crazy).  It was like Wow!  I had never before seen such beautiful lights turning night into day!  Those lights were an indescribable joy to behold!

 

Anyway, we all made it back and the first thing we did was to call the authorities to let them know that both families had safely made it back to their homes.  And the smoke . . . it was very thick at times.  So thick that I recall holding my hand up just one foot away from our south wall while a full moon was near our south meridian on a clear (but very smoky) night.  My hand had no shadow!

 

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Fast forward to the present:  As with that fire situation related to above, once again, a few days (actually it was at night) ago the sheriff  stopped by to suggest that we consider evacuating.  One of Montana's currently active fires had jumped a natural barrier and was headed our way.  Like before, we didn't evacuate right away.  Our property is on a hill with a good view in the direction of the fire.  We packed our vehicles, as did our neighbor.  And as before, together we decided what to do next.

 

As with that other fire (from  a few years back) we didn't evacuate right away.  But unlike that other fire, this one was showing signs of stopping -- at least in our direction.   We stayed, and the situation has gradually improved (for us) ever since.  Like before, we were without electricity for a while.  Roads have been closed (to non-residents).  Warnings are out to watch for cattle, etc.  on the roads.  Fences had been opened up to provide escape opportunities for cattle.

 

At the moment, we once again have all the comforts of home.  Smoke thickens and thins depending on winds.  Winds have been quite calm lately -- a good thing!  Wind can cause fires to progress far more rapidly.

 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Hardly a year goes by when we don't see smoke plumes from our home location.  But it's much rarer (but not rare enough) that we get notice to evacuate.  At least twice, either myself or my neighbor has been the first to report a wildfire in our area.  The (human) population density of our area (from the latest census data) is somewhere in the neighborhood of 0.5 per square mile -- great for astronomy, but it puts us at greater risk to wildfires.  Basically, we're surrounded by nothing but fuel for the fires.

 

Anyway; yeah, smoke is bad news for astronomical sky transparency; but some of that smoke is all that's left of homes and personal property.


Edited by Sketcher, 14 August 2021 - 01:07 PM.

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