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Marvin Jenkins

Odd observing conditions

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First night out since October 9th, weather has been terrible with the exception of three clear nights bang on the full moon! So didn’t bother.

20th November, 20:00hrs no clouds, no rain, no fog or all at the same time which has become normal. It’s dark, I can see constellations, and a light milky way.

After observing for thirty minutes I am finding it more difficult not less. I have no moon at present and the sun set two hours ago. I know it is far from ideal time but I work, so going out at 2am is reserved for days off.

I step away from the scope and just take stock. The whole of the sky from horizon to horizon and to the zenith has an equal opaqueness. Like a reduced full moon effect, but with total uniformity. I can look at stars and can see Andromeda and a few open clusters in Cassiopeia. I can only guess the cause is a full thin high overcast reflecting light pollution.

My issue is I have no light pollution to the north of my position but the sky was equal all round. Anyone else had this phenomenon?

Marvin

 

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2 hours ago, Marvin Jenkins said:

The whole of the sky from horizon to horizon...has....a reduced full moon effect, but with total uniformity

If I understand correctly, could there be a source of significant light pollution in your area which is being scattered across the sky by the aid of water droplets mixed with other pollutants ranging from auto exhaust to dust and microscopic particles?

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8 hours ago, Rob Sellent said:

If I understand correctly, could there be a source of significant light pollution in your area which is being scattered across the sky by the aid of water droplets mixed with other pollutants ranging from auto exhaust to dust and microscopic particles?

As above, was it a night of really high humidity ?

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17 hours ago, Marvin Jenkins said:

My issue is I have no light pollution to the north of my position but the sky was equal all round. Anyone else had this phenomenon?

Yes.  In the Medway valley we suffer from horrendous air pollution when the wind blows from the east - PM10 and PM 2.5s  scatter light.  Don’t know if you have an equivalent to the UKAIR monitoring site data in France.

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I reply to all of the above as the questions are valid. I live in a very rural environment. I have one neighbour who is lights out by mid afternoon, different story.

Nearest village is three k away to my north west and the street lights go out at midnight. My Southern horizon is somewhat compromised by three large towns and a nuclear power station 25k away, which do not effect visual normally, but show up in photography.

My North and East are totally uncompromised and the air quality here is superb, especially as the rain has been cleaning the sky for over a month. The Pyrenees mountain range is 100 k away and after rain I can see snow on it’s slopes.

The thing that really got me is the uniform ‘unseeing’. We all get used to something getting in the way, ‘but the whole sky’. I can only think it was a high level super thin over cast, uniform across the whole sky reflecting light.

Marv

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High altitude particulate air pollution is becoming a global problem.  My observations are that it gives a smooth and unbroken haze to the sky, unlike high cloud (usually patchy) or mist (clearer overhead than at the horizon) as you describe.   There have been extensive forest fires in Siberia and easterly winds have been blowing that bounty over much of Northern Europe this summer.  Local geography can hinder its dispersal.  

You can get a general idea of your local situation from satellite-based reporting e.g. https://waqi.info/#/c/50.497/2.437/7.8z

 

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