WHAT ABOUT THE WEATHER?
"Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it!"
Observing and enjoying the night sky is why you came to us in the first place. We work hard to give you a fun program so you can take home wonderful memories and skills to become stargazers on your own. The weather is the first and most challenging factor in providing a great night for you. Clouds are the natural enemies of astronomers in the visible spectrum, where we observe the sky.
Possible Weather Scenarios
Clear + Transparent
All green. It'll be awesome!
Rainy + Thick Clouds
We are out of luck and have to cancel the night but will endeavor to book you for one with better weather.
In a borderline scenario, the forecast is very challenging. We would rather go ahead and operate, even if the conditions turn (false positive), as opposed to canceling, and the conditions are superb (false negative). Hey, we are astronomers – we gotta throw in science!
A challenging night is if clouds move in and out of the area, or we have high thin clouds moving in different directions, or we might have wildfires in the region. "Mackerel scales and mare's tails make lofty ships carry low sails," says an old seaman's lore, and they knew! Wispy clouds will make observing double stars and deep sky objects a challenge because those objects are faint, and our telescopes collect light for longer exposure images. We also might have trouble recognizing dimmer constellations and third and lower magnitude stars. We'll talk a little more and observe a little less in those cases.
We use several proven weather forecasting services for general weather and astronomical observations that help to make an educated decision. We have had a few challenging nights, but we were able to manage them. We ask of you to be forgiving in those cases and for your patience as the weather can improve quickly in just 30 minutes. In those cases, we'll just keep you out on the field a little longer and sing a few lines of Madonna's song:
We're on the borderline
Dangerously fine and unforgiven
Possibly a sign
I'm gonna have the strangest night on Sunday