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Arghh... clear up and clean up, skies!

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#1 lphilpot

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Posted 30 July 2021 - 02:24 PM

Summers in the deep south are always hazy, but this year has been particularly opaque (see the transparency, lines):

 

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Astrospheric is much closer to reality - Even when it's clear of clouds it's not clear. Hazy, white, murky and dull. "Faint fuzzies" now refers to stars, not galaxies! Allegedly the seeing is good, but what good is seeing if you can't see it? LOL  :D

 

Two weeks ago it was in a rainy pattern, now it's drier precip-wise but very stagnant. We need a frontal broom to come through and sweep the skies clean. Maybe in November... Fortunately we've not seen triple digit highs this summer (yet?) but with 93F - 98F and 65%+ humidity (during the day, up to virtually 100% overnight toward dawn) it feels plenty warm nonetheless.

 

Oh well, let me go whimper and dream of clearer skies.  :)


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#2 sanbai

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Posted 30 July 2021 - 02:41 PM

Unfortunately I can only certify what you are saying. My last session was june 12 and I was already kind of lucky. After that only two planetary observations at dawn (seeing was excellent though).
I cannot blame my life for that this time, only weather.
I'm afraid that clouds and haze will only disappear with... a hurricane! :(

I hope I get some clear skies during my vacations in WY next week. Binoculars are ready.

Full disclosure: my Dob on order is not ready yet, so I'm not at fault for this weather.

#3 lphilpot

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Posted 30 July 2021 - 02:46 PM

I'll be in Colorado around the Labor Day dark moon but, alas, it's not an astro trip. However, I will have binocs, red light, SkySafari and a small atlas hidden away somewhere with me. I shall not be denied!!  lol.gif


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#4 John Miele

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Posted 30 July 2021 - 02:49 PM

I hear you Len! It's been the same way up here in North Alabama. The haze and the humidity are just brutal and relentless and no end in immediate sight...



#5 Ron359

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Posted 30 July 2021 - 03:04 PM

I'll be in Colorado around the Labor Day dark moon but, alas, it's not an astro trip. However, I will have binocs, red light, SkySafari and a small atlas hidden away somewhere with me. I shall not be denied!!  lol.gif

Don't be surprised if you are denied...   Here in CO.  and most of the western US we've had 2 months of wildfire smoke, haze and now adding in monsoon clouds & sometimes rain causing flash floods from last years wildfire burnscars.   Things can change by Labor Day but so far this year the smoke is coming mainly from huge fires in Oregon & CA.  and those won't be out or well controlled until late summer or winter snows come.  We're hoping it does change in time for the Labor Day weekend Star Stare Star Party but it ain't look'n good. (RMSS is already booked up btw).  But binocs and star chart are easy to pack and carry so bring em with and x-fingers.  


Edited by Ron359, 30 July 2021 - 03:05 PM.


#6 lphilpot

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Posted 30 July 2021 - 03:08 PM

My wife and I are joining another couple to visit RMNP, so that's the main event. Plus some photography - Maybe the smoke / haze might present some good sunsets. At any rate, it's gotta be at least a little cooler at 7000'+ than here at 150'.

 

Thanks.



#7 Ron359

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Posted 30 July 2021 - 03:33 PM

My wife and I are joining another couple to visit RMNP, so that's the main event. Plus some photography - Maybe the smoke / haze might present some good sunsets. At any rate, it's gotta be at least a little cooler at 7000'+ than here at 150'.

 

Thanks.

Sept. used to be the best 'observing' month in CO. you could count on with cool dry and clear skies.  The past few years its a total 'cra& shoot...   Last year the largest wildfire in CO history started in late Sept. or early Oct.  near Grandby - even after a short early snow, and burned over the  cont'l divide (@12K ft) and well into the east side of RMNP.  Some parts of the park and trails are still closed from that.   Make sure you have reservations -which are needed just for day trips into the park (and many other Forests and popular trails now.  And pleassee, everyone, come to CO. fully vaccinated!    


Edited by Ron359, 30 July 2021 - 03:44 PM.

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#8 DSOGabe

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Posted 30 July 2021 - 03:34 PM

West Texas has had an unusually wet, cloudy and cool summer so far. Even with no rain in the forecast, its been cloudy. With the exception of an outreach event a couple of weeks ago, the last time I took the scope out for some fun was just over a month ago



#9 lphilpot

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Posted 30 July 2021 - 04:11 PM

Make sure you have reservations -which are needed just for day trips into the park (and many other Forests and popular trails now.  And pleassee, everyone, come to CO. fully vaccinated!    

Parks passes are bought, timed entry passes will be purchased Sunday, reservations are made near Estes Park and all points en route. All of us are vaccinated. As far as I can tell, we're ready... I know I am!

 

 

West Texas has had an unusually wet, cloudy and cool summer so far. Even with no rain in the forecast, its been cloudy. With the exception of an outreach event a couple of weeks ago, the last time I took the scope out for some fun was just over a month ago

Yep - I'm a member of a FB group and there have been many reports of rain -- Not that that's a bad thing, all things considered. I've not see it so green since 2001 when we actually had dew at TSP. Ten years ago was quite different: Rock House fire, Roper fire, etc. They need the rain. Just without clouds. LOL


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#10 sanbai

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Posted 30 July 2021 - 04:52 PM

I'll be in Colorado around the Labor Day dark moon but, alas, it's not an astro trip. However, I will have binocs, red light, SkySafari and a small atlas hidden away somewhere with me. I shall not be denied!! lol.gif

Mine isn't either an astro trip, just family. The first days we are in Grand Teton and Yellowstone. Those are the best days for observing, moon wise, but I'm afraid the touristy locations we have for accommodation in the parks won't be ideal. I just hope a parking lot will be just fine for some casual binocular tours. It's bear land, I'm the stranger there, so I prefer not to adventure.

Last days we are in a cabin in Gardiner were stargazing could be easier, but the moon will set somehow late. Kids won't care if I need rest. Most likely I'll leave the 80mm at home.

Hopefully the weather will change in Louisiana and allow us some observing early September.

A positive thing for me is that you, a local, define that as horrendous summer for the usual standards. There's room for improvement and hope! Temperatures at least are going up now (well, that's not nice... We actually enjoyed the "cold" July more than previous years).
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#11 lphilpot

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Posted 30 July 2021 - 05:09 PM

A positive thing for me is that you, a local, define that as horrendous summer for the usual standards. There's room for improvement and hope! Temperatures at least are going up now (well, that's not nice... We actually enjoyed the "cold" July more than previous years).

The skies are horrendous - Temperature and such, pretty typical. So far this summer they've been maybe a touch lower than typical (until just lately), i.e., 90-94F instead of 95-98F. The humidity has been dead on cue all along. It's not uncommon to get at least a few days over 100F between mid-July and September, but nothing protracted. So far that's not happened this year.

 

Historical records for my area show between 55 to 70 inches of rain annually. So far, we're on track this year. The Köppen climate classification has us as "humid subtropical" (https://en.wikipedia...opical_climates). I'd argue slightly against putting Dallas, TX in the same category as us (Louisiana), Houston TX, etc. but New Orleans definitely belongs! Dallas gets thunderstorms but is generally a bit drier than us.

 

It's always hazy in the summertime, but it just seems to be worse this year. I went to west Texas the first week in May and I've had zero 'real' observing since then. I've voluntarily missed one night that was a bit better than the rest within that time period, but it actually wasn't all that good.

 

Oh well, it's just the weather...



#12 russell23

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Posted 30 July 2021 - 07:44 PM

This is what frustrates me.  For the last 48 hours the forecast has been clear skies starting at 7pm tonight through tomorrow morning.

 

Here is what is going on right now at 8:40pm.  First picture is NW and 2nd is SW.  I think it will clear up, but these clouds are not looking good.

 

 

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#13 lphilpot

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Posted 30 July 2021 - 08:02 PM

I feel your pain!  :)

 

Right now there are no "cloud clouds" but there's plenty of high cirrus in addition to the usual haze and thickness. At least the temperature has dropped below 90. It's 89 now, 72% humidity. ...yay.  woohoo.gif



#14 bikerdib

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Posted 30 July 2021 - 08:07 PM

Len, are you kidding?  Unless you just cannot get out tonite, I would LOVE to have one like that.

 

Below is what I've been facing for months!  And this one of the BETTER ones.

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Edited by bikerdib, 30 July 2021 - 08:07 PM.


#15 NightSkyD

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Posted 30 July 2021 - 08:16 PM

Man am I glad you brought this topic up! I am new to this hobby and just got into it in March. March and April had some clear nights near Houston Texas, but since the end of April until now it’s been #@! right frustrating. Of the less than a dozen times that I’ve had the telescope out since March, because of the cloudy nights and just unbelievable terrible seeing conditions, I’ve only gotten a few images of the moon, M42, Jupiter and Saturn. As a matter of fact the image I took of Jupiter July 25th which was so humid and hazy due to the Sahara dust and the fires out west the image came out really fuzzy and was difficult to focus on. I attached an image of it below:

 

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#16 lphilpot

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Posted 30 July 2021 - 08:17 PM

That's just west of Katy / Brookshire, right? Must have a pretty healthy glow to the east. Gotta love that Gulf moisture (not!).

 

Basically the same here, tonight actually looks superficially a little better than it's been, except the sky is covered by cirrus. The CSC I showed is more optimistic than it really is outside. The best I've seen Astrospheric register transparency for weeks has been "Below average" and that's been just hit and miss, here and there. Usually it's been white.

 

Skunked. I think our high tomorrow is supposed to be 98F. Not quite the century mark, but it's knocking at the door.



#17 NightSkyD

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Posted 30 July 2021 - 09:03 PM

Yeah the mid gulf coast has been bad this year for AP, but on a positive note no hurricanes yet! waytogo.gif I’m north of Katy. I should also preface that I did get some images of M3 and M13 as well as some of bodes galaxy but haven’t processed bodes yet. I’m just starting out with a DSLR and the planetary camera.

 

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#18 lphilpot

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Posted 30 July 2021 - 09:59 PM

Just stepped out on my patio, which is Bortle 5/6 but shielded from direct artificial light (albeit with a 75+ degree treeline to the west/north, house to the east/south). Vega is 71 degrees up and after 15 minutes or so zeta and delta Lyrae (mag. 4.x) are just barely direct vision. The keystone is directly overhead and through 10x70s M13 is just a very dull circular smudge.

 

Yep, that's hazy... It's never great here but this is far worse than usual, maybe roughly equivalent to a full Bortle category move.



#19 sanbai

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Posted 30 July 2021 - 10:37 PM

I call it the Great Gulf Nebula and it's visible year round.

I haven't checked tonight, not worth even to step out into the patio. A mosquito could bite my while certifying the null transparency.

Ah! What s memory I have from my session last January in Chicot State Park. That was an excellent night! Now it's just a dream of the past. (And better not to recall my visit to Flagstaff. What a BLUE sky during the day!)

Edited by sanbai, 31 July 2021 - 07:15 AM.


#20 rajilina

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Posted 31 July 2021 - 12:13 AM

Don't be surprised if you are denied...   Here in CO.  and most of the western US we've had 2 months of wildfire smoke, haze and now adding in monsoon clouds & sometimes rain causing flash floods from last years wildfire burnscars.   Things can change by Labor Day but so far this year the smoke is coming mainly from huge fires in Oregon & CA.  and those won't be out or well controlled until late summer or winter snows come.  We're hoping it does change in time for the Labor Day weekend Star Stare Star Party but it ain't look'n good. (RMSS is already booked up btw).  But binocs and star chart are easy to pack and carry so bring em with and x-fingers.  

Yup, here in Utah, where observing conditions are usually very good, the wildfire haze has been horrid since the beginning of July. I’ve missed many nights of observing that would normally be happening this time of year. And for the past week constant cloudy skies and rain. Can’t win for trying.


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#21 HasAnyoneSeenMyNebula

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Posted 31 July 2021 - 12:23 AM

Really bad smoke haze here in southwest North Dakota. Almost bad enough to give you a sore throat. I really feel for the people further west.

#22 alphatripleplus

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Posted 31 July 2021 - 10:06 AM

Astrospheric is much closer to reality - Even when it's clear of clouds it's not clear. Hazy, white, murky and dull. "Faint fuzzies" now refers to stars, not galaxies! Allegedly the seeing is good, but what good is seeing if you can't see it? LOL  laugh.gif

 

 

Yep, I've noticed the same here - The transparency forecast in Astrospheric has been at the white end of the scale, i.e. very poor, on every clear night. Definitely the case the last few times I have bothered to go out and try to observe. 



#23 sanbai

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Posted 31 July 2021 - 02:06 PM

I would note that taking astrospheric too seriously may prevent one of enjoying a "decent" night. And by decent I mean when the observing opportunities have been scarce for whatever reason and that's better than nothing, enough to enjoy a while.

Of course, one has to ponder the effort of going to the (not so) dark site for a night that may or may not be decent, vs the comfort of staying home.

Yesterday, just by chance, I could check the sky by chance as I had to go out of the door. It was the best we had in a long time. It wasn't good, but stars were visible and, aside of faint fuzzy stuff, some things were probably doable. I was already in bed mood and other factors prevented me to go further, though.

#24 lphilpot

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Posted 31 July 2021 - 03:36 PM

Yeah, I'll occasionally go out when it's been a while, just "put eye to eyepiece" -- i.e., get a fix. But last night wasn't even worth that. Dead overhead, mag 4.3 stars could barely be held with direct vision.



#25 NightSkyD

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Posted 31 July 2021 - 04:10 PM

Well I tell you the picture I posted earlier of Jupiter the skies were hazy but I still went out. I guess if we wait for a perfect night not too many opportunities would avail itself. I even had to fight horrible dew, which of from what I understand in the Gulf states that’s always a problem in the summer anyway. I just didn’t know how bad it could get and I only had a dew shield. I ended up putting it on too late so I had to dry the correct plate which I don’t like to do. I don’t yet have a dew heater so any suggestions for a Celestron 6SE that’s not too expensive I’d appreciate it.


Edited by NightSkyD, 31 July 2021 - 04:11 PM.



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