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Thursday, July 20, 2006

Hazed out, mostly

It took me a while this morning to figure out why the hell I would have set a special alarm for 3:00 in the morning. Once I remembered, I was out of bed and grabbing my binoculars, heading out into my back yard to see...

...not much, really.

The moon was easy enough to spot, of course, but even with the binoculars it took a while to pick out any of the background stars from the hazy gray of the night sky. High humidity and moisture in the upper atmosphere combined with skyglow from the ground (especially from the new high-glare streetlights that Wilkes-Barre, which hugs my eastern horizon, recently intstalled) and the glow of the moon itself to form a pearly haze that covered the entire sky and hid all but the brightest stars, the Pleiades included. I was able to pick out two of them - Maia and Electra, I believe - but splashes of glowing clouds splattered across the sky threatened to take away even that.

I'll give it another go before I head back to bed for a quick nap before I have to wake up again in an hour or two. If you got up early to see this sight, I hope you had better viewing conditions!

UPDATE: Nope. As I headed back to bed, I stepped outside to see a large cloud covering much of the Eastern sky, blotting out even the moonlight. After a short nap filled with dreams of lady bloggers, I awoke to find the post-sunrise sky a solid mass of gray clouds.

1 comment:

anne said...

I have a brother-in-law with a real whiz bang telescope. He hauls it over to our back field to set it up on the hilltop every so often. However, seemingly without fail, every time there is an astronomical event over PA, it's cloudy!

And so it goes.