What’s With The Weather?

If you’re like me (an astrophotographer who would like to astro-photograph) you are no doubt wondering what is going on with this weather lately, especially if you live in the Midwest United States.

The above sums up how the first half of this year has been for astrophotography. Clouds and rain have hindered most all of the last six months of opportunity and when there was a window of clearance the winds were not suitable to sustain long exposure shots (20-30mph gusts).

Our local super start meteorologist Tom Skilling of WGN Channel 9 was asked a question this past May on this very topic. Mike Burns of local Chicago asked: “It seems as though the start to 2019 has been unusually cloudy with very few days of full sunshine. What was our percentage of cloud cover from January through May?”

Tom’s response confirmed the weather in the midwest has been unusually cloudy with the entire first half of 2019 logging only 8 total days of full sunshine and no clouds, which extends in to the evening when astrophotographers start to come out of daytime hibernation. This spring has also been one of the wettest ones on record and contributing to Lake Michigan waters rising by 13 inches.

If you live around major metropolitan areas then you already know the battle with light pollution is terrible. Couple in the recent weather conditions and you’ve got yourself a recipe for disappointment on many levels.

What is an Astrophotographer to do when they get shut out from shooting the night sky?

  • Do some research
  • Plan your next astro trip
  • Go through old shots and experiment with processing it differently
  • Spruce up your gear
  • Go through your endless folders of data and organize them
  • Start a blog and document your journey

Okay that last one seems silly but in reality it’s what I did this past spring when the weather was not cooperating.

Once you get done with all the above I suppose there’s only one thing left, actually shoot the stars. Here’s to hoping the rest of 2019 provides us with some actual opportunity.

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