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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!”
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.
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.