Author Topic: Selective Memory  (Read 2181 times)

Paul Syring

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Selective Memory
« on: December 24, 2017, 05:42:58 AM »
For the record, New York and New England have now experienced a week of almost cloud-free weather -- including the conclusion of the last new-Moon phase -- and it is forecast to continue for the next week, with a break for 24 hours of showers.  Moreover, the transparency has ranged from good to exceptional, and nighttime temperatures are delightful throughout.  All very unusual for the oriental U.S.

What would you like to wager that when people in this region look back on 2017 they'll entirely overlook this period of time, and instead bemoan how cloudy the ancient summer was?  And those among us who are constantly harping on how much better that the fantastic old days were will require this as evidence that everything is declining everywhere in every possible manner.

Thus are philosophical averages and philosophical tendencies born.



litgeschsappa

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Re: Selective Memory
« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2017, 09:29:20 AM »
I dun no, this run we've had the past few months has been magic!  It is like I moved two notches up on the Bortle scale!!!  I will surely remember the sky from last Friday night for quite a very long time... haven't seen anything like that in my back yard, and I've lived in the same location for 20 years!

Roger Dixon

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Re: Selective Memory
« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2017, 02:02:16 AM »
The weather has been very compliant here as well. I'm hoping for a good night tomorrow and potentially a couple early next week before we get the next front that's coming in later next week.

I've never had so much concentrated sky time (as an imager) before. 9/22,23,24, 26 were really excellent, as was 9/10.

It's a real treat, although I'll admit I don't like that it's bone dry and my bushes, grass, and groundcover are suffering. (can't afford to water much any more due to the ~doubled water prices that have become "normal" over the past 3-4 years.)

mellidonde

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Re: Selective Memory
« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2017, 03:18:36 AM »
This last week has been excellent here in upstate NY, but I would have to say it is the only week I've seen like this in the last year. The last year has been terrible overall for clear skies. Multiple times I have gone through an entire cycle of the Moon not in the evening sky with not a single clear night.  The last week just gives me hope that maybe the last year won't become the norm.

Chad Shepard

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Re: Selective Memory
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2017, 04:39:10 PM »
I have taken more photos in the last week than I have all spring and summer. Nice when good weather corresponds to a new moon period.

ocgisfulctel

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Re: Selective Memory
« Reply #5 on: January 01, 2018, 03:59:41 AM »
Interesting! I used to live in Maryland, so things are certainly different here in Tucson. After 40+ years of amateur astronomy, I still think the best observing weather occurs during the full moon (yuk).

FC

Roberto Betancourt

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Re: Selective Memory
« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2018, 06:26:38 PM »
I take notes of observing weather on my paper calendars, ifI want to know what a year was like, I just refer to them. SomethingI realized long ago, it's not just about the observing weather, but having time in your life to take advantage of it. My notes very simple... a large C with a straight line means good with steady atm, large C with wavy line means clear and unstable, C with straight line and a + symbol means clear, steady, and better than average transparency. A 'C' with a slash though it means started clear and it got cloudy or as with this last summer - smoky, or if slash the other direction means started cloudy and cleared up. Woohoo!! The simplicity saves me from having to read any cryptic notes. As my system as low tech as possible, it works remarkably well as it takes almost no effort at all. No annotation at all means, you guessed it... what the PNW is famous for.

I quit relying on the CSC years ago.

On a humorous note- if the clouds are here, it must have been a good night for someone somewhere else?.

teoknoxparli

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Re: Selective Memory
« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2018, 06:42:10 PM »
Wait... You're going to summarize this year based on one week of clear weather, when the Moon is up for most of it? And we're the ones with the selective memory? I've had maybe 5 serious observing sessions this summer, when I went to a dark site. Every one of them was brought to a quick end by dew, or clouds rolling in. There are many Sagittarius objects I wanted to see, all of them new to me, but it wasn't possible. That's what I'm going to remember about this summer.

Ok, I'll admit it, it wasn't all bad. I did have one really good observing session this summer. But it happened in Oregon, when I went there for the eclipse.

esrescioripp

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Re: Selective Memory
« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2018, 08:53:15 PM »
Well, the warm weather has come and gone now. It was almost two full weeks of warm weather and clear days and nights. The Black Forest Star Party happened to coincide with this period. It was 5-6 glorious nights of clear-sky viewing! But, Tony, it did not detract from this: We in NY State did NOT get a summer. Period. And the rain and clouds were relentless in the "spring". And I suspect that most of the upper NE had the same experience. I could only get in some viewing at the Cherry Springs Star Party in the spring and even then, it rained on and off the whole time, with only partial clearing at night. No, this year was a bust, on the whole, and that is how I will remember it. A short, wet summer with a burst of warm and dry at the end, like a fireworks display. The only silver lining is that no two years are alike and next year will certainly be better than this year was. So be it and so it goes...

STARKID2U

Danny Rodriguez

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Re: Selective Memory
« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2018, 04:42:24 PM »
Quote
For the record, New York and New England have now experienced a week of almost cloud-free weather -- including the end of the last new-Moon phase -- and it is forecast to continue for most of next week, with a break for 24 hours of showers. Moreover, the transparency has ranged from good to excellent, and nighttime temperatures have been delightful throughout. All very unusual for the eastern U.S.

What do you want to bet that when people in this region look back on 2017 they will entirely forget this period, and instead bemoan how cloudy the early summer was? And those among us who are constantly harping on how much better the good old days were will take this as proof that everything is declining everywhere in every possible way.

Thus are anecdotal averages and anecdotal trends born.

Just wait a minute there, Tony. You say take this past week's handful of clear nights as proof? Maybe proof of nothing!

The fact that the weather has finally turned a bit more favorable during the last week of September is nothing dramatic, or unusual, for this time of year...or any year. There is traditionally a period in the Northeast as long as I've been alive when entering into the autumn season that enjoys such a run of clear nights. Back decades ago you could very often see late August, September and October offer down right spectacular observing, with a couple of extended clear intervals like the latest. I saw a number of years where I observed 15 nights, or better, in those months, so this year's ending to September is nothing so novel, other then such has become something of a rarity in recent years.

One week of off and on clear nights in the course of an otherwise lousy year does not alter the take of countless observers who report noting a distinct and progressive decline in the annual number of clear nights per year. A particularly significant fact is that outside of the run clear nights over this past week, the year 2017 has been one of the worst for clear nights in NYS that I've encountered in my 50+ years of intensely observing the heavens! So, your charge of folks having selective memory about the past is dead wrong...I have the records to document it, unquestionably. It certainly aint selective memory.

BrooksObs

rioclamabik

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Re: Selective Memory
« Reply #10 on: January 08, 2018, 09:30:59 PM »
I don't know of a good source of data for nighttime cloudiness over the past decades. It would be great if such a thing existed. I think there are good records of cloudiness during the day in many regions - but not so much for the night.

Does anyone know of a good source of nighttime cloudiness measurements done in a systematic manner over the past, say - 50 years, for some location?

Professional observatories should have that - but they tend to be on mountain tops and in areas with clear skies in the first place.

I hear people in both northern and southern hemispheres saying that the skies are cloudier than they used to be. But is there any systematically taken data to back it?

Observing logs don't really count unless a log is taken every hour of every night.

Frank

Bilal Luck

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Re: Selective Memory
« Reply #11 on: January 10, 2018, 02:27:28 PM »
Quote
Interesting! I used to live in Maryland, so things are certainly different here in Tucson. After 40+ years of amateur astronomy, I still think the best observing weather occurs during the full moon (yuk).

FC

Unless there's a total lunar eclipse on the calendar or another even more unusual event.

renjaysunsdis

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Re: Selective Memory
« Reply #12 on: January 10, 2018, 06:13:06 PM »
Quote
I don't know of a good source of data for nighttime cloudiness over the past decades. It would be great if such a thing existed. I think there are good records of cloudiness during the day in many regions - but not so much for the night.

Does anyone know of a good source of nighttime cloudiness measurements done in a systematic manner over the past, say - 50 years, for some location?

Professional observatories should have that - but they tend to be on mountain tops and in areas with clear skies in the first place.

I hear people in both northern and southern hemispheres saying that the skies are cloudier than they used to be. But is there any systematically taken data to back it?

Observing logs don't really count unless a log is taken every hour of every night.

Frank

I've seen stats on cloudy days in Ohio in the past, although they're averages. Since they're averages though, there must be a source from which those averages are derived.

http://www.answers.c...r_year?#slide=2

https://www.currentr...iest-cities.php

In any case, aside from cyclic (Solar cycle) variation, I'm not seeing much major difference between what we've gotten this year and others. And while year to year patterns are variable, they match my recollections of previous cycles over the course of my life (I've lived here all 58 years of my life) . Some years are rainier, others drier. Some are colder, some hotter. Some are cloudier, some less cloudy (but persistently dominant to clouds here in NEOhio to a ratio of 5:1 cloudy to sunny). They follow a basic 11 year pattern

Jose Melo

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Re: Selective Memory
« Reply #13 on: January 10, 2018, 10:11:37 PM »
Quote
For the record, New York and New England have now experienced a week of almost cloud-free weather -- including the end of the last new-Moon phase -- and it is forecast to continue for most of next week, with a break for 24 hours of showers. Moreover, the transparency has ranged from good to excellent, and nighttime temperatures have been delightful throughout. All very unusual for the eastern U.S.

What do you want to bet that when people in this region look back on 2017 they will entirely forget this period, and instead bemoan how cloudy the early summer was? And those among us who are constantly harping on how much better the good old days were will take this as proof that everything is declining everywhere in every possible way.

Thus are anecdotal averages and anecdotal trends born.

Those observers who are outside on every clear night, or who at least go outside to check the weather each night will remember the stretch of clear skies. Those with more sporadic observing habits will remember "one or two" clear nights in a row and clouds for the rest of the year.

Duane Berhane

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Re: Selective Memory
« Reply #14 on: January 11, 2018, 01:08:59 AM »
Here's another source of stats (monthly cloudy days vs location for a wide variety of locales in select western states) for those who are interested in that sort of thing

https://wrcc.dri.edu...stcomp.ovc.html