“Weather or Not” Companion Sheet
June 12, 2009
Weather and astronomy naturally go together. A fascination with the sky is the only requirement to be an amateur astronomer, so it’d stand to reason that stargazers often find weather just as fascinating.
I. Satellite Pictures--Yes, they’re a dime a dozen on the internet; where to begin? My personal preference is this one: http://weather.msfc.nasa.gov/GOES/goeseastconus.html. Both visible (higher resolution) and infrared satellite loops are available, and allow you to center the plot.
Visible satellite loops work best for detecting low clouds during the day. Infrared satellite loops work best for detecting high clouds and are the only viable option at night.
is a major impediment to deep-sky observing in
A general discussion on haze and transparency and its effects on deep-sky observing can be found at the following sites: http://www.skyandtelescope.com/howto/visualobserving/19331599.html and
forecasting--Well, there’s the ol’ reliable standby, http://www.cleardarksky.com/csk,
it’s proven indispensable to amateur astronomers for almost a decade. It does have a tendency to underestimate
approaching high clouds and overestimate lingering low cloudiness, but
it’s light years ahead of a standard NOAA forecast for cloud cover, and
an accurate forecast for seeing. Caution
is advised if using CSC’s transparency forecast, though, as it only
moisture, not aerosols, though the latter play the dominant role in
newcomer is http://astroforecast.org:8080. This is similar to CSC, only it goes out over
a longer time frame. Another new kid on
the cloud forecasting block is
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