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More Weather Notes, SkyShed POD 4th Anniversary

Posted: 25 July 2013

Cloudy skies and hot temps (many days well above 100°F) continued here at Cassiopeia Observatory. Monday night, 8 July 2013, had a monsoon storm related (but no storm here) power outage that lasted 2 hours. Wednesday afternoon, 10 July, there was a large dust storm visible about 31 miles to the west:


Here is a time-lapse video of two brief monsoon storms that occurred that afternoon. Picked up 0.14" from the two monsoon thunderstorms that day. Tucson's 100° streak ended on 10 July, one day shy of 40 days, which would have been a new record. Tucson has had 39 straight days of 100°F or greater three times in the over 100 years of record keeping. If you want to cool off from my high temperature reports, check out this time-lapse video from my webcam on 20 February 2013. That should cool you down.

Thursday, 11 July, a nice monsoon thunderstorm hit at Cassiopeia Observatory. I was gone when it arrived, but when I got home there was still a lot of water running along the hills and streets. The observatory rain gauge said 0.47" in less than an hour. And then another 0.41" of rain fell mid-afternoon in less than one hour. 24 hour total: 1.02" of rain. Pretty good! We needed it!

Friday, 12 July, had another nice monsoon storm. Mostly gentle rain for about 30 minutes; picked up 0.22". This is the storm after it passed by (view to southwest):


There is some mammatus visible on the left in the photo above. This is a digital zoom of the mammatus:


Friday afternoon it looked like the sky might actually clear up somewhat and allow some observing that night. Unfortunately, as sunset approached, clouds moved in from the southeast. Once again, no observing. I posted a time-lapse video of the day's weather.

The weekend continued with monsoon clouds and some rain, with more monsoon storms forecast for the coming week. Monday evening, 15 July, had a brief monsoon storm pass just to the south. Only 0.04" rain here but had wind gusts to 27 MPH. The thunder from the storm was constant. Very little lightning seen but the rumbling just went on and on for several minutes. I took this photo of the sky using the 8mm 180° fisheye lens pointed straight up:


Another storm came through at 0115 MST, Tuesday, 16 July. Dropped 0.25" rain in about an hour, with lots of frequent lightning. Rain continued on and off through the early morning hours, totalling 0.5". Cloudy skies continued, but no rain occurred here on Wednesday, Thurday, or Friday. Saturday, 20 July, saw a brief sprinkle of rain before sunrise; the sky dawned partly cloudy but the clouds quickly began increasing. Late in the afternoon on Saturday there were strong monsoon storms in Tucson. This 180° fisheye lens view looks south towards Tucson:


About 50 minutes after the above photo was taken, had a very brief period of sprinkles. Then about 1800 MST, got 30 minutes of light-to-moderate rain totalling 0.16". I posted a time-lapse video of the afternoon's clouds and storms.

Sunday, 21 July, dawned partly cloudy, with more monsoon storm activity forecast. Mid-day, four nice brief rainshowers occurred. 0.3" in an hour plus a gentle rain kept falling after that. Cloudy skies continued on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Had a brief rainshower Wednesday evening before sunset. Received 0.12" of rain.

My last observing session was 26 June 2013. With 28 straight nights of cloudy skies, this has been my longest stretch of no observing since moving to Oracle, Arizona, in mid-2009! And as of now, cloudy skies are forecast to continue into next week.

Today, 25 July 2013, is the 4th anniversary of setting up the SkyShed POD at Cassiopeia Observatory. Click the photo below to read the full report of that day's activities:


You can also view this short video:

Making of Cassiopeia Observatory - Computer from Mike Weasner on Vimeo.

The 4th Anniversary of "First Light" for the observatory comes up in August. Hope the skies clear up by then!

Wildfires have been in the news lately, especially with the recent tragedy of 19 firefighters losing their lives fighting a wildfire in Arizona. Also in the news has been mention of cuts to firefighting budgets. It occurred to me that a simple act by Federal, State, and Local governments could reduce light pollution, reduce energy costs (and therefore reduce energy impacts to global climate change, which could help reduce wildfires), and then use the cost savings to increase wildfire firefighting budgets. So, on 10 July 2013, I tweeted this on Twitter:


I hope others will take up this call for governments to turn off unnecessary nighttime lighting and transfer savings to firefighting budgets.

Anacortes Telescope has published An Interview with John Diebel, Founder of Meade Instruments. It is a great read.

Universe Today published an article by David Dickinson on "How to Spot and Track Satellites". One of my ISS-Moon transit photos was used in the article. Check it out.

I received an alert from that the Tiangong-1 Chinese space station would transit the sun on Sunday, 28 July, as seen from my observatory. Although the forecasts still call for monsoon season cloudy skies, I'll try to image it weather permitting.

Comments are welcome; use the Comments section below, or you can Email Me. Thanks.

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