Astronomical Sky Forecasts
by Kris Mattarochia
Many locations within our County Warning Area are far enough from cities, so as to prevent light pollution while stargazing. At different times during the year, stunning man-made and natural phenomenon is visible to the naked eye. Whether meteor showers, celestial bodies or the Space Shuttle, many a late fall or summer evening can be spent searching the skies for these features. Usually the question is will clouds obstruct my view? The graphical sky forecasts on our homepage can provide assistance, but also, one may want to check out this web site http://cleardarksky.com/csk/ for even more specialized information. The author, Attilla Danko, provides a compact, easy to read and understand “Clear Sky Clock”, which provides Cloud Cover, Transparency, Seeing and Darkness forecasts. Each one of these elements is described in detail at the above address. The data used to compose the Cloud Cover forecasts originates from the Meteorological Service of Canada, which also produces a simulation of what a satellite picture may look like at a certain point in time. Images can be found at http://www.weatheroffice.gc.ca/astro/clds_vis_e.html, underneath the “Eastern United States Window” headline, halfway down the page. The model which produces these forecasts has proven to be quite skillful. Thus, data from this model has been integrated into forecast operations (also our Graphical Forecast Editor), here at Blacksburg, VA. I invite you to take a look for yourself!
Map provided by the Canadian Meteorological Center and is (c) Crown copyright, product of Environment Canada.