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Wildfire Smoke Pollution

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#1 SingleShotDuker

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Posted 19 July 2021 - 01:23 PM

Good afternoon all,

 

Another type of "pollution" in addition to lights are the recent effects from wildfires smoke. I live in Ontario, Canada, where the smoke from wildfires are disrupting our opportunities at observing and imaging.

 

So much so, that I could not even polar align the scope due to this obscuring smoke, and these wildfires are literally hundreds of miles from me. 

 

Is anyone else experiencing the smoke from wildfires?



#2 Migwan

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Posted 19 July 2021 - 01:27 PM

https://www.cloudyni...ky-skies/page-2



#3 randcpoll

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Posted 19 July 2021 - 01:55 PM

I use this website each summer. It pretty much tells the whole story.

 

https://fire.airnow.gov/


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#4 Jim Waters

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Posted 19 July 2021 - 02:01 PM

You are late to the party.  The SW US has been dealing with wildfire smoke for the past 2 months.


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#5 Ron359

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Posted 19 July 2021 - 02:04 PM

Good afternoon all,

 

Another type of "pollution" in addition to lights are the recent effects from wildfires smoke. I live in Ontario, Canada, where the smoke from wildfires are disrupting our opportunities at observing and imaging.

 

So much so, that I could not even polar align the scope due to this obscuring smoke, and these wildfires are literally hundreds of miles from me. 

 

Is anyone else experiencing the smoke from wildfires?

there are several other threads on-going about the wildfire smoke on CNs forums.  Some of us have been experiencing  and talking about this for years.  


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#6 jonbjon989

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Posted 19 July 2021 - 02:09 PM

I live in northern Michigan and smoke is an issue from wildfires most of the month of July. Good seeing conditions are often a problem in this area and now under clear skies smoke makes it impossible for observing and imaging. These are the worst sky conditions I have ever seen in my over 30 years of observing. The forecast is for wildfires to continue to increase in number and intensity like what has been occurring for the last 20-30 years. 


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#7 SingleShotDuker

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Posted 19 July 2021 - 02:15 PM

Agreed, the worst conditions I have seen in a very long time.

 

I live in northern Michigan and smoke is an issue from wildfires most of the month of July. Good seeing conditions are often a problem in this area and now under clear skies smoke makes it impossible for observing and imaging. These are the worst sky conditions I have ever seen in my over 30 years of observing. The forecast is for wildfires to continue to increase in number and intensity like what has been occurring for the last 20-30 years. 


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#8 SingleShotDuker

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Posted 19 July 2021 - 02:17 PM

Thats a great map!, thanks for sharing.

I use this website each summer. It pretty much tells the whole story.

 

https://fire.airnow.gov/



#9 bogg

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Posted 19 July 2021 - 03:05 PM

I use these two websites to track smoke and fires. 
http://firesmoke.ca/

and the Atmospheric app


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#10 Chucky

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Posted 19 July 2021 - 03:42 PM

I certainly don't need a smoke web site right now to show me what my eyes can see.  It's lousy here in central Ohio.  Lousy, lousy, lousy.  Sucks.  Our hour by hour tonight shows it will be 'clear' all night.  Sure.  What a joke.  It'll be a struggle to even see the moon!


Edited by Chucky, 19 July 2021 - 03:47 PM.


#11 csa/montana

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Posted 19 July 2021 - 03:50 PM

This area has been under heavy smoke for over a week now.  Having been evacuated twice in the past years because of wildfires close by; I'd rather have the smoke and lose some viewing than lose my entire property because of fire, which many are going thru.


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#12 earlyriser

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Posted 20 July 2021 - 08:17 AM

Started impacting my area (SW Ohio) Monday.  This morning, my naked-eye limiting magnitude was about 3.0 despite satellite images indicating clear skies.  Normally, I'd expect  an NELM of about 4.3, so I figure about 1.3 magnitude of extinction from the smoke.  The moon was quite orange last evening as well.  


Edited by earlyriser, 20 July 2021 - 08:18 AM.


#13 CowTipton

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Posted 20 July 2021 - 10:52 AM

0% cloud cover last night.

 

I still couldn't even see Polaris.

Horrible.


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#14 Phillip Creed

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Posted 20 July 2021 - 11:14 AM

Started impacting my area (SW Ohio) Monday.  This morning, my naked-eye limiting magnitude was about 3.0 despite satellite images indicating clear skies.  Normally, I'd expect  an NELM of about 4.3, so I figure about 1.3 magnitude of extinction from the smoke.  The moon was quite orange last evening as well.  

Pretty close.

AOD is 1.0 or higher based on satellite data.

 

https://www.star.nes...q/AerosolWatch/

 

(click on AOD on the drop down menu for GOES-16 data)

AOD is measured at 550-nm, while human night vision peak sensitivity is ~510-nm.  A good rule of thumb for aerosol extinction is 1.2 x AOD, so ~1.2 mag of extinction / air mass would closely match your findings.

NOTE--this is the extinction per *airmass*.  You look through 1.0 air masses straight overhead, 2.0 air masses at 30° altitude, and so on, up to ~40 air masses at the horizon.  This is why the sun looks so dim and red near sunrise / sunset.  Shorter wavelengths scatter much more than longer wavelengths, which is why the sky is no longer blue even though it's cloudless.

Clear Skies,

Phil


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#15 nightofnit

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Posted 20 July 2021 - 12:29 PM

My limiting magnitude last evening was approximately Altair. No clouds either. At least my house is burning down.


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#16 earlyriser

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Posted 20 July 2021 - 01:09 PM

Pretty close.

AOD is 1.0 or higher based on satellite data.

 

https://www.star.nes...q/AerosolWatch/

 

(click on AOD on the drop down menu for GOES-16 data)

AOD is measured at 550-nm, while human night vision peak sensitivity is ~510-nm.  A good rule of thumb for aerosol extinction is 1.2 x AOD, so ~1.2 mag of extinction / air mass would closely match your findings.

NOTE--this is the extinction per *airmass*.  You look through 1.0 air masses straight overhead, 2.0 air masses at 30° altitude, and so on, up to ~40 air masses at the horizon.  This is why the sun looks so dim and red near sunrise / sunset.  Shorter wavelengths scatter much more than longer wavelengths, which is why the sky is no longer blue even though it's cloudless.

Clear Skies,

Phil

Thanks for the information.  I've identified stars that appear near the zenith at various times by constellation to try and become more consistent in estimating NELM.  I've attached a spreadsheet in case anyone wants to use it to help with estimating magnitude/extinction.  I have a another one with stars to a much higher magnitude, but it is too big to upload. Attached File  Star List Small.xlsx   272.15KB   3 downloads


Edited by earlyriser, 20 July 2021 - 01:12 PM.


#17 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 20 July 2021 - 01:43 PM

https://www.cleardar...201W0412AchAqON

 

https://www.ospo.noa...2R2msGYtzt6Obkk



#18 RLK1

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Posted 20 July 2021 - 02:36 PM

Another problem with large is that they can create their own weather like this one today:   https://www.cnn.com/...sday/index.html

Tall mountains can create their own weather as well and that probably accounts for some of the failures for weather/sky prediction sites to accurately predict viewing conditions.



#19 Szumi

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Posted 20 July 2021 - 03:16 PM

I'm in northern Michigan, I think this is the third year in a row where smoke has ruined opportunities for astronomy.  This year being the worst. 

 

My sympathies to those in the path of the fires or already a victim of a fire.  I've experienced a small forest fire and thought I was going to lose everything but the fire department was able to beat it back and put it out.  I only had to reside the garage and replace an out building.  Scary stuff fire.

 

I use the smoke forecast in atmospheric, https://www.astrospheric.com/


Edited by Szumi, 20 July 2021 - 03:20 PM.


#20 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 20 July 2021 - 10:04 PM

I did a bit of lunar observing not too long ago.  Due to the wildfire smoke, I was only able to see Vega and the waxing gibbous Moon without optical aid.  I logged a grand total of 10 stars, 2 in Aquila, 3 in Cygnus, and 5 in Lyra with my Celestron 8x42s.
 

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


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#21 jcj380

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Posted 21 July 2021 - 10:08 AM

0% cloud cover last night.

 

I still couldn't even see Polaris.

Horrible.

I stepped out briefly before dawn on Monday.  I could barely see Saturn, much less Polaris.

 

Nice orange moon last night if you like that sort of thing...



#22 vsteblina

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Posted 21 July 2021 - 04:17 PM

Article on smoke on the east coast from a west coast perspective.

 

https://cliffmass.bl...-smoke-and.html



#23 lakerunr

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Posted 21 July 2021 - 09:30 PM

The Canadian wildfire smoke is terrible here in southern Wisconsin. Orange sunrise/sunset, orange moon, hazy all day and night even with "clear skies". 



#24 George N

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Posted 21 July 2021 - 10:05 PM

Smoke's mostly gone in NY's Southern Tier -- ( so are the weeks of boomers ) - clear but bright moonlight tonight (7/21/21) - still a little color on the moon, but even with all that moonlight 1st & 2nd mag stars are easy to see.

 

We expect two more clear nights - and Clear Sky Chart predicts the smoke will be completely gone by tommrow night.



#25 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 22 July 2021 - 01:30 AM

My wife and I went for a late walk on Wednesday night.  The sky was still subdued at the time.

 

Hours later I observed the Moon briefly and the sky was far more transparent.




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