Montana Outdoors

January 11, 2013

Clear day, cold night

Filed under: Winter — montucky @ 9:41 pm

Sunny January day

After a couple of weeks of clouds, snow and rain, the sky cleared today and the sun came out. This time of year that means a cold night. The temperature has dropped 15 degrees in the last two hours but the stars are so bright it almost hurts to look at them.

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56 Comments »

  1. Oh soooo pretty!!I love the mountains.

    Comment by niteflyrwoman — January 11, 2013 @ 10:48 pm

    • Those mountains are part of the Coeur d’Alene Mountain range in western Montana. The peaks are just over 7000 feet and look down their north slopes at the Clark Fork River below.

      Thank you for visiting!

      Comment by montucky — January 11, 2013 @ 11:10 pm

  2. Those mountains are part of the Coeur d’Alene Mountain range in western Montana. The peaks are just over 7000 feet and look down their north slopes at the Clark Fork River below.

    Thank you for visiting!

    Comment by montucky — January 11, 2013 @ 11:09 pm

  3. Vivid colours! Beautiful. Brrrrr.

    Comment by wordsfromanneli — January 11, 2013 @ 11:18 pm

    • What a sky tonight! Every star that ever was has showed up tonight. 11º now and still going down.

      Comment by montucky — January 11, 2013 @ 11:42 pm

      • Cold here too but not like what you have. We’re hovering around freezing. But I can imagine the sky!

        Comment by wordsfromanneli — January 11, 2013 @ 11:50 pm

        • Yes, I’m wearing a path from out on the driveway to up next to the wood stove!

          Comment by montucky — January 11, 2013 @ 11:52 pm

          • ;-)

            Comment by wordsfromanneli — January 11, 2013 @ 11:53 pm

            • If the whole world could only get a few deep breaths of this cold clear air, feel the breeze and look in the direction we call “up”! It’s as though the rest of the universe is holding an open house.

              Comment by montucky — January 12, 2013 @ 12:10 am

              • Baja skies are often like that, only warmer. But Montana skies are probably more refreshing. The stars are so bright on nights like that. We used to look at Orion every night and watch him wander across the sky as the night wore on.

                Comment by wordsfromanneli — January 12, 2013 @ 12:21 am

  4. That is so beautiful. I can only imagine what the stars look like – sadly there’s far too much light pollution around here. But when we get up into the hills it’s awesome. I’m really hoping for some clear nights to come.

    Comment by Jo Woolf — January 12, 2013 @ 1:50 am

    • It’s nice to be away from a lot of light pollution. I remember when I lived near a large city having to drive many miles to get a good look at the night sky. All of those lights also make me a little sad to see so much wasted energy.

      Comment by montucky — January 12, 2013 @ 11:28 pm

  5. I know where all of your clouds went-that’s all we’ve seen this week. I’ve been waiting for one of those nights when it seems like you couldn’t fit another star in the sky, but have yet to see one this winter.

    Comment by New Hampshire Gardener — January 12, 2013 @ 4:48 am

    • Tonight there are a few clouds but in a few more days there should be some clear sky again. I don’t think the current weather fronts passing through here are strong enough to reach your area though.

      Comment by montucky — January 12, 2013 @ 11:29 pm

  6. Beautiful shot Terry,

    I recently read that the winter stars appear more brilliant than the summer stars because when we see the summer stars we are looking towards the center of the Milky Way, vs looking towards its edge in the winter. Thus the summer stars are drowned out by the background noise from our galaxy.

    I also noted with some dismay that your snow cover is disappearing. I assume that’s unusual for Montana in January? We’ve been having rain here in NH, and will continue to receive it into next week. I still have snow in my yard, but I noticed lots of bare patches along the Interstate on my way home last night. :-(

    Comment by jomegat — January 12, 2013 @ 7:04 am

    • The milky way is very bright here now. Very enjoyable!

      The snow in the valley floor melted but has been replaced with a light covering. Not entirely unusual for here. Just a few hundred feet above though there is more and the higher areas have about their normal snow pack for this time of year. One of the closest ski areas has 100 inch base at the top, and we have three more months to add more.

      Comment by montucky — January 12, 2013 @ 11:34 pm

  7. Beautiful! A view to sustain one. We’re heading into some very cold weather soon.

    Comment by Teresa Evangeline — January 12, 2013 @ 8:25 am

    • I think at this time of year you have colder weather than we do. We are in an area about 50 miles long that is sheltered from the cold air coming down from the north. The Continental Divide often blocks the cold fronts and there are three smaller mountain ranges that shelter us here from the ones that spill over. We did get down to
      8º last night. Last year I think we had only a couple of nights below zero.

      Comment by montucky — January 12, 2013 @ 11:39 pm

  8. Crisp is what I often call those kind of nights. I really love your comment; “It’s as though the rest of the universe is holding an open house”. What a beautiful way to express the night sky.

    Comment by anniespickns — January 12, 2013 @ 8:45 am

    • “Crisp” they are and very much enjoyed when we have them!

      Comment by montucky — January 12, 2013 @ 11:40 pm

  9. Nice view. I wonder if some of the more recent snow will finally start building up into something worthy of snowshoes.

    Comment by knightofswords — January 12, 2013 @ 11:07 am

    • There is plenty at the higher elevations, but there isn’t good access close to here. I will have to pick a day or two and drive to the pass or west about 80 miles.

      Comment by montucky — January 12, 2013 @ 11:42 pm

  10. GORGEOUS!!!

    Comment by zannyro — January 12, 2013 @ 11:24 am

  11. What a gorgeous photo!! The mountains are so beautiful.

    Comment by alskamom — January 12, 2013 @ 11:45 am

    • That is the Coeur d’Alene mountain range, and those peaks are inside a roadless area. I spend time up there in summer.

      Comment by montucky — January 12, 2013 @ 11:43 pm

  12. One of the things I love about living where I do is being able to go out on a clear, cold night and look up to marvel at a sky full of stars. :-)

    Comment by Mama's Empty Nest — January 12, 2013 @ 12:51 pm

    • That is a strong advantage in my way of thinking. I can remember looking at stars long ago in early childhood when we camped under the stars very often.

      Comment by montucky — January 12, 2013 @ 11:45 pm

  13. Beautiful! I bet the stars would be fantastic from where you are, wow. I seldom see them away from city lights. Well, it’s not that cold here, of course, but it was down to freezing last night and will be for the next few nights. I covered most of my vulnerable plants but the lantana got frostbit last night. It will come back in the spring, though.

    Comment by Candace — January 12, 2013 @ 4:34 pm

    • I remember light pollution there even in the east valley where I lived, and also a few nights below freezing in the valley. Also some very cold nights camping high on Mount Lemon in January.

      Comment by montucky — January 12, 2013 @ 11:47 pm

  14. Your cold has come to Minnesota … goodbye to warm temps and rain … hello snow and ice. Wouldn’t be January without those below zero temps …

    Comment by bearyweather — January 12, 2013 @ 6:30 pm

    • We get used to it though, don’t we. I think you actually get much colder temperatures there than we do most winters. We have seen 35 below in the past but last year I can remember only a couple of nights below zero.

      Comment by montucky — January 12, 2013 @ 11:49 pm

  15. My goodness that is simply wonderful country and a terrific photograph!

    Comment by WildBill — January 12, 2013 @ 9:34 pm

    • Your would love that country up there along those peaks, Bill. They are in the Cherry Peak roadless area which is 59 square miles of natural forest.

      Comment by montucky — January 12, 2013 @ 11:51 pm

  16. Awesome contrast between the mountains and the trees!

    Comment by Mary Strong-Spaid — January 12, 2013 @ 11:02 pm

    • Yes, there are lots of contrasts here. Those tall peaks are nearly a mile above the valley.

      Comment by montucky — January 12, 2013 @ 11:52 pm

  17. Love your description that the stars are so bright it hurts to look at them.

    Comment by Tammy — January 12, 2013 @ 11:24 pm

    • Especially in winter, the night sky is stunning every time you look at it. Each star and planet is in sharp focus, nothing in the air to create blur.

      Comment by montucky — January 12, 2013 @ 11:55 pm

  18. Brrrrrrr!! Is that Eddy Peak in the distance? And am I seeing the lookout? Or is that my imagination playing tricks on me?

    Comment by Kinzel, Charles H. — January 13, 2013 @ 4:20 pm

    • Good eye, Chad! Yes, the lookout is visible: sure wish I could get up there this time of year!

      Comment by montucky — January 13, 2013 @ 8:05 pm

  19. I remember nights like that, one in particular many years ago. Was really impressed with your miles logged already in 2013. Thanks for keeping us with glimpses of home.

    Comment by Ron Mangels — January 13, 2013 @ 9:09 pm

    • Hi Ron! I will try to get out more as winter progresses. I hope you had a great holiday season!

      Comment by montucky — January 13, 2013 @ 9:20 pm

  20. Of course we don’t have the cold you do, and we have plenty of light pollution, but winter in Houston is the best time for star-gazing. When the fronts come through, the pollution gets blown out and the humidity drops into the 20-30% range, and everything shimmers and shines. Even the petro-chemical plant lights are pretty. ;)

    I didn’t realize until I started sailing that the stars can be bright enough to cast shadows. The 60s song got it right – “Good morning, Starshine!”

    Comment by shoreacres — January 15, 2013 @ 7:08 am

    • Yes, part of the clear night sky is low humidity and it is usually very low here. Clear, moonlit nights are great for hiking too when there is snow on the ground: it is nearly as bright as in daylight.

      Last night out power was out from about 6 to 10 and it was snowing lightly. I went out for a three mile walk in the dark and enjoyed it thoroughly.

      Comment by montucky — January 15, 2013 @ 10:28 am

  21. Beautiful Terry !!

    Comment by Bernie Kasper — January 15, 2013 @ 11:07 am

    • I see that same range of peaks every day and the scene is always different.

      Comment by montucky — January 15, 2013 @ 5:36 pm

  22. Stunning!

    Comment by kateri — January 15, 2013 @ 9:04 pm

    • The area where those peaks sit is one of my favorite places. It is very beautiful up there!

      Comment by montucky — January 15, 2013 @ 10:36 pm

  23. gorgeous! I remember having my breath taken away as we flew over the Rockies a couple Christmases ago when we flew into Montana

    Comment by skouba — January 16, 2013 @ 2:21 pm

    • At times it can do that to you, can’t it! The sky was clear again today and those peaks were even brighter with an additional snowfall.

      Comment by montucky — January 16, 2013 @ 9:34 pm

  24. Beautiful. Temperatures can change “dramatically”: Yesterday 19.4ºF, this morning -23.8ºF here in the town of Mikkeli, Finland.

    Comment by Sartenada — January 18, 2013 @ 4:04 am

    • Wow, that’s a big change! We get temperature changes of those proportions often in summer, but not in winter.

      Comment by montucky — January 18, 2013 @ 8:13 pm

  25. I have only seen the stars with such clarity on the two occasions in which I spent time on a houseboat at Lake Powell…there were no neighborhood or city lights to obscure the view, simply the blanket of darkness that rules night-time in such places…and the stars were so very bright…another world out there. I love the photo, Terry…we share a heart for such places…wonderful.

    Comment by seekraz — January 18, 2013 @ 9:26 am

    • I lived for many years in the general are of Phoenix with all of its lights. What a dramatic difference when I moved back here.

      Comment by montucky — January 18, 2013 @ 8:15 pm

      • I’m sure it was, Terry…and how wonderful that must be for you out there.

        Comment by seekraz — January 21, 2013 @ 10:00 pm


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