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Stacy McGaugh @DudeDarkmatter
, 6 tweets, 2 min read Read on Twitter
Minor astronomical mystery last night. Looked out just before bed & noticed the first quarter moon was... dimmer than usual. This was pronounced enough that I went out to look. Indeed. Even a slight shade of red. Also fewer stars than usual. But no clouds in the sky, nor cirrus.
Woke up this morning; still no clouds. The color of the sky seemed off though, and the sun a bit orangish even once well above the horizon. What the heck? Then I remembered all the wildfires in the west, and decided to look up a smoke map at @NOAA
Yep. My house is under one of those big red blobs.
So: smoke from fires over a thousand miles away along the Pacific coast is having a perceptible impact on the clarity of the sky in the Midwest. Perceptible by satellite. Perceptible by human eyes. Probably by our lungs too.

Gonna go play softball anyway.
Had the same problem when Mt. Pinatubo went off. Affected astronomical observations half way around the world. Had to spend lots of extra telescope time measuring the atmospheric extinction coefficients, which were a huge departure from their usual values due to Pinatubo smoke.
Made for beautiful sunsets. Nothing quite like being on the mountain to witness a beautiful sunset before a night’s observations. Only to realize “crap. Gotta recalibrate the transparency of the sky. Tonight and every night of the run.” #observerproblems
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