Weather Station

Yes, having a home weather station is definitely a sign of “geekishness”. I have had numerous consumer models over the years but none have lasted very long in the harsh conditions in the mountains. I finally bit the bullet and purchased a Rainwise MK-III LR  professional station and so far it has performed flawlessly. Its very easy to install and with the IP-100 interface, it connects directly to hour home network via your LAN. You can configure the station to push data to public web sites like Weather Underground and Ambient Weather.

Data from the station is shown below.  I am still working on a better display but in the mean time you should be able to navigate around the Ambient Weather page. If you want to access the page directly click here. You can also get weather data from Weather Underground. This is the current station KNCSYLVA86 and I kept the old station for historical data at KNCSYLVA4

Observing planets, planetary nebulae or any celestial object with details at high power requires excellent seeing conditions. The seeing is the term used in astronomy to quantify the steadiness or the turbulence of the atmosphere. Seeing should not be confused with sky transparency, which is the terminology used to qualify the darkness of the sky. When we look at planets, we need high power to see all the fine details but most of the time we are limited by turbulence occurring in the telescope (local seeing) and/or in the atmosphere. During a night of bad seeing we are usually limited to see only two bands on the Jupiter disc and we can hardly use power over 100-150x. On excellent seeing conditions we can use high power and see many bands, white spots, festoons and details in the great red spot. Excellent seeing with high quality telescopes can also show details on the largest moon of Jupiter, Ganymede. What we are seeking is the best nights where we can boost our telescopes to their limits… which reach as high as 50X per inch diameter for quality telescopes… which means 500x for a quality 10-inch (25cm) instrument.