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Weather and Palomar

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#1 grif 678

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Posted 07 February 2024 - 06:17 PM

With all the wild weather wrecking havoc in California, with floods, winds, snow, and other unusual weather, how far is all this stuff from the Palomar Observatory. With the observatory being built in a higher location, maybe it is immune to the floods, but maybe has a lot of snow. Wonder how these are built to hold up to winds over 100 mph, since I heard that winds around 140 mph have been occurring over there. It seems like the weather has just been stranger than usual about every where. If the weather keeps going in that direction, will viewers just give up and start a new hobby?



#2 Bean614

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Posted 07 February 2024 - 06:35 PM

"will viewers just give up and start a new hobby?"   A LOT already have!



#3 SporadicGazer

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Posted 07 February 2024 - 07:27 PM

  ... how far is all this stuff from the Palomar Observatory. ...

"Due to an accumulation of snow and ice on the roads and walkways, Palomar Observatory is closed today."

 

from their website:

 

https://sites.astro....r/homepage.html

 

 

Lick doesn't have any notice of closure up, but I wouldn't try that road in our recent weather!

 

https://www.lickobservatory.org/


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#4 Todd N

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Posted 09 February 2024 - 03:02 AM

Mount Palomar Observatory has some cams that help to gauge the weather. 

 

https://sites.astro....a/livecams.html

 

In general from what I remember, if it's raining over SoCal its probably raining on Palomar. I've never heard of them having such extreme winds. One thing is annoying is that larger region has some higher atmosphere turbulence that makes guiding difficult. I wonder how they did it up there before the days of digital automation. 



#5 Old_Dobsonian

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Posted 15 February 2024 - 02:14 PM

I lived near Palomar Mountain for 30 years and still go back twice a year. I first visited their observatory when I was nine years old, and it sparked my abiding interest in astronomy.

 

There has never been a whole lot of snow up there. What has occurred lately is unusual. Smoke from fires is probably a much bigger hindrance than either rain or snow have ever been. 

 

Certainly, the smoke can be a hobby killer for somebody just getting in. But long-term, it is the light pollution that was killing me. from San Diego, it is something like 3 or 4 hours drive to get to Bortle 2 skies. I relocated to Phoenix, which is also incredibly bright. But I can get to B2 in 2 hours and B3 in half that.


Edited by Old_Dobsonian, 15 February 2024 - 02:15 PM.


#6 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 16 February 2024 - 05:18 AM

I first visited the observatory on Palomar mountain in 1953 when I was 5. I've been there many times since.

 

30 inches of rain per year. 35 inches of snow per year.. that's slightly more than Lolo, Montana where our youngest son lives.

 

https://en.m.wikiped...ain,_California

 

Jon


Edited by Jon Isaacs, 16 February 2024 - 05:20 AM.


#7 CBM1970

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Posted 16 February 2024 - 09:03 AM

The Southern California mountains consistently received snow above 5,000 feet when I lived there 70s/80s. It was not like the massive snowfalls further north in the Sierra Nevada, and it often melted between storms, but it was not unusual. It was sufficient to support ski areas above 7,000 feet, and one of them was only 45 minutes away from my high desert home. I used to go frequently.

 

There have probably been some changes over the decades, but when I see reports of 3 or 4 feet of snow in the Southern California mountains, I am not wildly surprised as I saw it happen several times in "wet" years.

 

Mt. Wilson (at 5,700 feet about 100 miles north of Palomar) is in a topographically similar situation to Palomar. There are a couple of places that publish records of their famously good seeing. It mostly happens in the summer and early fall. It likely correlates with the mild onshore flow off the Pacific that often fogs up the lower elevations but sits well below Wilson and Palomar. Coupled with that is consistent high pressure that keeps skies clear, still, and rain less, with the jet stream over a thousand miles to the north.

 

I lived well inland, and there were plenty of mountains between me and the ocean (unlike Palomar and Wilson). However, in those weeks of summer/fall high pressure, I had night after night of cloudless skies. At 3,000 feet, my location was above and inland from the fog. When the winds were quiet (which certainly was not all the time) the seeing could be very good, despite the topography. It wasn't "Palomar good" (or "coastal good") but I got away with high power on the moon and planets far more often than I do now, in Southern Maine.


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#8 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 16 February 2024 - 09:17 AM

The Southern California mountains consistently received snow above 5,000 feet when I lived there 70s/80s. It was not like the massive snowfalls further north in the Sierra Nevada, and it often melted between storms, but it was not unusual. It was sufficient to support ski areas above 7,000 feet, and one of them was only 45 minutes away from my high desert home. I used to go frequently.

 

There have probably been some changes over the decades, but when I see reports of 3 or 4 feet of snow in the Southern California mountains, I am not wildly surprised as I saw it happen several times in "wet" years.

 

Mt. Wilson (at 5,700 feet about 100 miles north of Palomar) is in a topographically similar situation to Palomar. There are a couple of places that publish records of their famously good seeing. It mostly happens in the summer and early fall. It likely correlates with the mild onshore flow off the Pacific that often fogs up the lower elevations but sits well below Wilson and Palomar. Coupled with that is consistent high pressure that keeps skies clear, still, and rain less, with the jet stream over a thousand miles to the north.

 

I lived well inland, and there were plenty of mountains between me and the ocean (unlike Palomar and Wilson). However, in those weeks of summer/fall high pressure, I had night after night of cloudless skies. At 3,000 feet, my location was above and inland from the fog. When the winds were quiet (which certainly was not all the time) the seeing could be very good, despite the topography. It wasn't "Palomar good" (or "coastal good") but I got away with high power on the moon and planets far more often than I do now, in Southern Maine.

 

:waytogo:

 

Our place in the high desert in about 60 miles southeast of Palomar and at about 3800 feet.  We get snow just about every year but nothing like Palomar.  The most we get is about 4-5 inches. As you say, lots of clear, nights. 

 

4880257-Illiana in the Snow.jpg
 
4979973-Francis in the snow reduced and cropped.jpg
 
Jon

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#9 Jehujones

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Posted 16 February 2024 - 09:51 AM

With all the wild weather wrecking havoc in California, with floods, winds, snow, and other unusual weather ... I heard that winds around 140 mph have been occurring over there. It seems like the weather has just been stranger than usual about every where...

Don't know who's telling you these things but they're having fun at your expense.

We've had periodic floods since they started keeping records in the 1800s.

We've had snow in the valleys and even downtown LA from storms in 1932, 1949, 1957, 1962, 1989 and I'm not talking about just some hail storm.

High winds are almost a yearly occurrance in socal.

 

Now, if the rain started coming up from the ground and going up to the sky then I would call that unusual weather!



#10 Oldfracguy

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Posted 24 February 2024 - 11:04 PM

I was able to get up to the observatory back in November, the week after the 200" was down for a fresh coating of aluminum.  The operator, CalTech, had closed the observatory to visitors during COVID-19, and took their sweet time reopening to the public.  

 

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#11 Oldfracguy

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Posted 24 February 2024 - 11:07 PM

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The 200" Observatory Dome rides on a series of these railroad-type wheels:

 

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Edited by Oldfracguy, 24 February 2024 - 11:12 PM.

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#12 Oldfracguy

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Posted 24 February 2024 - 11:08 PM

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Edited by Oldfracguy, 24 February 2024 - 11:08 PM.

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#13 Oldfracguy

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Posted 24 February 2024 - 11:10 PM

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