Category Archives: Uncategorized

Venus low in the west right after sunset.

Venus is setting seven minutes earlier each evening and soon will also be rising before sunrise as it curves between us and the sun on the 25th. Here’s two photos from tonight (Sunday March 19th) just above the trees from the parking deck at the DiCicco’s in Ardsley. Venus got tangled up in the trees by 7:35pm, even though it didn’t set below the horizon until 8:03pm.


Wide view shows how Venus – the bright dot left of center just above the trees – Canon XS 55mm 1/8 second f11.


Zoom lens 250mm 1/8 sec f/11. Zoomed in shows the (blurry) crescent Venus.


A shorter exposure with the zoom lens, 1/100 sec to try to reduce the blurring of the crescent Venus.

IMG_6099 (2)

Enlarged from the previous photo (for some reason I can’t get wordpress to publish the photo full size).




Well, we got a lot of something.

Lunchtime; posting during a workday due to the extraordinary nature of the weather today.  Working at home – the office is closed and for good reason!

Woke up to several inches of snow. Thus began a strange weather day. The snow changed back and forth to ice pellets. The snowflakes varied in size from tiny to 20 minutes of snow flakes the size of tortilla chips (my wife verified this; could hardly believe it herself).  Then, ice pellets like tiny ice cubes. As of 12:40pm, rain is starting mix in .

The barometer is 976mb, down 6 mb in two hours and falling 33mb in 12 hours.

It think the crazy mixes are from the storm developing so rapidly and warm and cold air getting streaked into the mix over us, like a marble swirl cake.  Thunder reported at Newark.  Some high wind gusts, scary at times, but not all the time.

With rain mixing into the ice pellets. May go back to snow for a couple of inches before ending.  Radar has been interesting. Longer range radar reports precipitation ending in central NJ, but the storm may still be developing there and it may be a false back edge.

With the storm moving faster and mostly because it is a bit closer to the coast than predicted, about the same amount of precipitation, but less snow accumulation.  That’s what happens sometimes. Looks like the forecast majorly busted, but with the storm substitutes ice for snow, accumulations are less than expected, but no easier to travel in.




A moment for some things your Representative in Congress is considering

Some in Congress want to review rules that implement laws passed by Congress. They want a veto on actions of federal agencies doing their job to implement the laws passed by Congress.  Including if Congress doesn’t vote on it, then the regulation dies.

Here’s a good summary from Science Friday. . .  When you go to the page, scroll down for a summary if you don’t have 30 minutes for the Science Friday segment.

An except, with the citations to the proposed laws:

The proposed Regulations From the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (or REINS) Act would require the House and Senate to vote on any new regulation costing more than $100 million. (For perspective, the EPA rule reducing emissions from toxic mercury was $9.6 billion, with an expected annual public health benefit of $37–90 billion.) Any regulation not voted on within 70 days would be dropped. Furthermore, the Secret Science Reform Act would require that the EPA make decisions based only on information that is publicly available online for independent analysis, throwing into question whether any study that includes confidential personal health information could ever be considered by the agency.




A whole lot of something coming our way! – Updated with links from weather discussions

Bob Kelly An impressive winter storm forecast discussion: This system
will rapidly deepen into a powerful winter storm as it tracks northward up
the Eastern Seaboard. A vast area spanning from the Mid-Atlantic to New England will have snow ranging from a few inSee More

Bob Kelly WeatherNJ is upgrading his warning to “Dude, where’s my car” snow depth for NJ:…/

A late-winter KABOOM is expected for many NJ areas tomorrow night into Tuesday…



Three packets of energy are forecast to make a bundle when they rendezvous on the east coast on Tuesday.  All the packets are over the North American continent as of this morning and the accuracy of the computer weather models will increase with this morning’s run and the following runs.

If they come together here, if it’s snow, plan to take Tuesday and perhaps Wednesday as ‘watch the snow’ days.

If you want to see the colliding packets of energy in action, a neat video is at the National Centers for Environmental Prediction. Here’s the link, below. If the direct link doesn’t work, it takes lots of clicks, clicking on North America, the nam model and the sim radar. The simulated radar shows the precipitation with the three packets of energy, from the midwest, the southern atlantic coast and the gulf of Mexico smashing together, making one area of snow and rain over the northeast megalopolis.

Modeling link


Tuesday morning’s radar simulated by the nam model. The color are increasing intensity of precipitation, not rain or snow.

The game plan is for heavy snow from I-95 inland from DC to Maine. But this game plan is wobbly, and the rain/snow line is like the scrimmage line or the rugby scrum with the competing forces of upper air energy, moisture and warmth from both the Gulf and Atlantic. Stir with high winds and we have a blizzard watch.

But as they say, you still have to play the game.

Click on the  Weather Briefing for NYC to get the story and keep up with changes.



Aldebaran occultation recap

I didn’t stay up to see the main event, but I caught the pre-show!

The occultation of the bright star Aldebaran in the head of Taurus the Bull was going to be too low in the sky at my house, so I went out earlier when I could set up my camera in front of our house, shielded from the 20 mph wind in the 17 degree temperatures.

Earlier that evening, other, fainter stars in the Hyades cluster were occulted by the moon.  Here’s two photos just before and just after star theta-1 disappeared behind the dark limb of the moon. (The one next to it is theta-2.) Depending on your browser, you may need to click on the photos to see the two stars near the lower left faintly lit part of the moon, then one star remains. The third photo is an expanded view of the same photo after the first star disappeared. Note the dim lighting on the eastern half of the moon, that’s light reflected from the earth – earthshine.


Here’s a wider view of the scene, with the V-shaped Hyades cluster on the left with the over-exposed moon and the little-dipper-shaped Pleiades cluster on the right. The blue blob near the Pleiades is a reflection in the lens. The red star on the upper left of the V cluster is Aldebran, which was run over by the moon around 11:10 in Westchester County, NY.  I would have had to set up out in the wind and cold somewhere else to see that, so I caught the pre-show.





Morning Sat Jan 7 waiting for snow bands

NWS models put Westchester County on the edge of the snowstorm. That would normally mean little or no snow for our County, but the NWS has indications bands of snow could drop an inch an hour of snow just east of us, just after noontime. The forecast of 2-4 inches includes if we get a brief band. So watch out for travel late morning or early afternoon for a sudden increase in snow rate for a while, especially if you are traveling east or south of here.

From the NWS forecast discussion….

Max snowfall rates may approach 1 inch per hour at the New York City
terminals, with higher rates likely at times at Islip, Bridgeport
and Groton. Lesser rates are expected at Newburgh. Timing of highest
rates would mostly likely be in the afternoon.

Expected snow totals:
6-10 inches...KISP/KBDR/KGON
3-5 inches...KLGA/KJFK
2-4 inches...KHPN/KTEB/KEWR
1 or less inches...KSWF

1/7/2017 Another storm

Another storm, now threatening North Carolina with heavy snow, will pass off shore on Saturday, giving us the another chance of a light snow – 1 to 3 inches, with the amounts dropping off quickly further west of us and eastern Long Island and eastern Connecticut getting a strong winter storm.  A small change in the track of the storm could give us only  ‘conversational snow’ or three inches during the day on Saturday.

Here’s the National Weather Service’s words. . .

Forecast models continue to show a developing coastal low moving
off the Southeast coast and tracking northeast, passing well south
and east of Long Island.

Latest forecast guidance continues to point towards a significant
snowfall event across eastern LI and southeast Connecticut with a
advisory level snow across central Long Island and South Central
CT. Most of the forecast guidance also indicating a sharp cut off
in the precipitation. The main question, is where does this sharp
cut-off occur. Most guidance is showing that cut off somewhere
around the NYC or Nassau county line northward. If subsequent
models runs trend towards the west, higher snowfall amounts may
occur further west.

Snow should develop during the morning hours of Saturday and then
end across eastern sections in the evening. As for QPF amounts,
less than a quarter of an inch for NYC metro and a little over
half inch across eastern LI/Southeast Connecticut.

With respect to headlines and totals, A Winter Storm Warning is
in effect for Eastern Suffolk and New London Counties for 4 to 8
inches of snow. A Winter Weather Advisory has been issued for
Western Suffolk County, Middlesex, and coastal New Haven counties
for 3 to 6 inches. Further North and West including NYC should see
1-3 inches. Orange and Passaic may see little to no snow.