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Cloud cover = black sky.


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Just an odd one last night . As the clouds began to cover, the sky above and between got incredibly black. I think this must have stopped the light pollution from spreading around.

A joyous half hour sat back in a recliner showed plenty of dark detail to Cygnus and signs of the Eastern Veil. M27 really shone out in the 15x70 bins. The sagittarius region was a blaze of stars .Cassiopeia , double cluster and M31 were all stunning with brief black background until there was complete cover.

So don't just open and close the door if there is some cover, it might be worth a grab and go,

Nick

Edited by cotterless45
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I looked out the door last night and wished I had a pair of bino's already, the sky was probably 50 to 60% covered but the sky between the clouds was pitch black and the stars were glorious.. Real shame I havnt got a pair yet :(

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... the sky was probably 50 to 60% covered but the sky between the clouds was pitch black and the stars were glorious..

Me too, although it was 95% 10mins later. I ascribed the dark sky effect to a very recent thunderstorm but it could also be due to the clouds blotting out the light-pollution on the observer-sky path as suggested above.

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Just an odd one last night . As the clouds began to cover, the sky above and between got incredibly black. I think this must have stopped the light pollution from spreading around.

A joyous half hour sat back in a recliner showed plenty of dark detail to Cygnus and signs of the Eastern Veil. M27 really shone out in the 15x70 bins. The sagittarius region was a blaze of stars .Cassiopeia , double cluster and M31 were all stunning with brief black background until there was complete cover.

So don't just open and close the door if there is some cover, it might be worth a grab and go,

Nick

This is a great observation,I'll be trying it from here too!
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Man-made skyglow in a clear sky is a result of water (mainly) in the air, reflecting light back down. If the air is very dry then there will be less skyglow, and transparency will be very good. In this case maybe there was low cloud with drier, clearer air above. Another possibility is that the sky looked blacker in contrast to the clouds. The light-pollution that shines down on us can be reflected from very distant sources, so the weather right over our heads is not the sole factor.

It's always worth having a go in any kind of sky condition. Chasing holes in the clouds tends to be unproductive unless you're sweeping for easy targets with binos or a small scope, and don't need to spend time star-hopping, but you never know when a long clear spell is going to develop. Equally, there can be a cloudless sky full of thin haze that makes for rubbish viewing. Just got to get out there and try.

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