View Single Post
Old 02-09-2019, 08:05 AM
mental4astro's Avatar
mental4astro (Alexander)

mental4astro is offline
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: sydney, australia
Posts: 4,636
Originally Posted by Saturnine View Post
I am the Observing Officer for our local club and I'm the one who has to make the call to go or not to go, in consultation with others as well and have had to apologies to the members the next day when a few hours after calling of the session in the late afternoon, the skies have miraculously cleared. Oh the shame endured.
Yes, I know that feeling well, Jeff...

Like you, the call is made by consulting others. These decisions are not made lightly.

One thing about this Saturday night that weighed in on the process was what conditions would be if it did clear. We've had nights when the day was overcast with a spectacular thunderstorm right on sunset, but this weather pattern was one we had experienced before and all the ques were that the night would clear very quickly after the storm and despite the storm, the night was truly spectacular with outstanding seeing, stunning transparency and bone dry due to the laminar breeze that blew all night long.

But this Saturday night, all the ques were for a dismal scenario. And it was poor and not one for astro activities.

Like you and your Club, these decisions are all made based on the experience of the locale with its unique weather patterns. What may seem perfect along the coast may be terrible up at the Airfield. Conversely when things have been poor along the coast, the Airfield has been amazing.

We have had nights where conditions at the Airfield had been stunningly clear and bone dry with no dew. Then on driving through Katoomba on the way home, the place was fogged out and drenched like it had rained! On another occasion, we had cloud cover that just refused to clear despite every indicator saying it would clear up. After three frustrating hours we packed up and made our way home only to find conditions at Medlow Bath village were perfectly clear! We turned around and raced back to the Airfield - no change in cloud cover! And that was all in a difference of 50m elevation and 4 km... It can be crazy enough to drive someone to take up AP!

An idea could be for the various astro clubs in and around Sydney to look at pooling their resources to one point where they can say if their session is good to go or out for the night, all because conditions across all locations can vary so greatly. This way Sydneyites can have a chance a finding a site that is open despite their usual haunt being closed and they then have a chance at getting a photon fix... ??? ???

We use this IIS page for this as one of our FAST means of getting info out to members quickly for any changes to our sessions. Our other FAST means is through our Facebook page, but as not everyone uses Facebook this IIS page provides an alternative, and email can be clumsy and not easy to access sometimes.

Reply With Quote