Stargazing And Snow Chances

This blog will be a little different. I know there are many of you out there that are fascinated by stargazing and weather in space. When I say “space weather”, that entails the solar storms from our sun that can wreak havoc on satellites and power grids. However, this also includes the amazing auroras better known as the northern lights. If you want to know much more about this check out the following web site:  www.spaceweather.com. It has everything you need to know about meteors, solar storms, sun spots, aurora sightings, etc.

Most of you probably know the Space Shuttle Discovery is in the midst of its’ last mission. The cool thing that you may not know is that you can spot the shuttle as it makes passes around the earth currently attached to the International Space Station.  Now, when I say you can see this, it will only look like a star moving at a pretty good clip across the sky. Here are the times you can see the Space Shuttle and ISS over the next week.

THE FOLLOWING ISS SIGHTINGS ARE POSSIBLE FROM SAT FEB 26 TO SUN MAR 13

SATELLITE LOCAL DURATION MAX ELEV APPROACH DEPARTURE
DATE/TIME (MIN) (DEG) (DEG-DIR) (DEG-DIR)
ISS Sat Feb 26/06:44 PM 2 18 16 above NW 16 above NNE
ISS Sun Feb 27/07:11 PM < 1 15 15 above N 15 above N
ISS Mon Feb 28/06:01 PM 2 18 15 above NW 15 above NNE
ISS Tue Mar 01/06:29 PM < 1 15 15 above N 15 above N
ISS Wed Mar 02/06:55 PM 1 16 16 above N 15 above NNE
ISS Thu Mar 03/07:20 PM 1 23 16 above NNW 23 above N
ISS Fri Mar 04/06:11 PM 2 17 15 above NNW 16 above NNE
ISS Fri Mar 04/07:46 PM < 1 24 16 above NW 24 above NW
ISS Sat Mar 05/06:37 PM 3 26 16 above NNW 17 above ENE
ISS Sun Mar 06/07:03 PM 3 59 16 above NW 48 above ENE
ISS Mon Mar 07/07:30 PM 1 40 27 above W 40 above SW
ISS Tue Mar 08/06:19 PM 4 66 16 above NW 16 above ESE
ISS Wed Mar 09/06:47 PM 3 36 30 above WSW 15 above SSE

ONLY DAYS WITH SIGHTING OPPORTUNITIES ARE LISTED 

THE FOLLOWING SHUTTLE SIGHTINGS ARE POSSIBLE FROM MON FEB 28 TO THU MAR 10

SATELLITE LOCAL DURATION MAX ELEV APPROACH DEPARTURE
DATE/TIME (MIN) (DEG) (DEG-DIR) (DEG-DIR)
SHUTTLE Mon Feb 28/06:01 PM 2 18 15 above NW 15 above NNE
SHUTTLE Tue Mar 01/06:28 PM < 1 15 15 above N 15 above N
SHUTTLE Wed Mar 02/06:55 PM 1 16 16 above N 15 above NNE
SHUTTLE Thu Mar 03/07:20 PM 1 23 16 above NNW 23 above N
SHUTTLE Fri Mar 04/06:11 PM 2 17 15 above NNW 16 above NNE
SHUTTLE Fri Mar 04/07:46 PM < 1 24 16 above NW 24 above NW
SHUTTLE Sat Mar 05/06:37 PM 3 26 16 above NNW 17 above ENE
SHUTTLE Sun Mar 06/07:03 PM 3 60 16 above NW 49 above ENE
SHUTTLE Mon Mar 07/07:30 PM 1 40 27 above W 40 above SW
SHUTTLE Tue Mar 08/06:20 PM 4 67 16 above NW 16 above ESE
SHUTTLE Wed Mar 09/06:48 PM 3 35 30 above WSW 15 above SSE

We have a wonderful planetarium in Milwaukee at the Milwaukee Public Museum that I definitely recommend. For more on what is going on there, check out the following link from Bob Bonadurer, the director of the planetarium and IMAX theater:

March 2011 Starry Messenger

Now let’s get back closer to earth. Our forecast continues to be busy the next week. Thursday is now looking pretty quiet with most of the overrunning moisture expected to stay in Northern Wisconsin. Friday’s weather now looks rainy and not snowy. Eventually, cold air will be entrained into this system and the rain will change to light snow. I’ll take you through the progression with the RPM starting with 6pm Friday.

Note the thunderstorms in Illinois. The warm air will be close, but not make it into Wisconsin. Here is the 6am Saturday outlook:

By Saturday morning, most areas will be receiving some light snow. The light snow will continue much of the day. Here is the 3pm forecast:

Finally, here is the snowfall forecast through 3pm Saturday:

Next week’s system is looking pretty impressive. Still way to early to tell the eventual path, but at this point it is looking like a moisture rich low pressure center. We’ll keep a close eye on it.

Mark

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7 Responses

  1. Next weeks storm should bring a pretty good blast of cold air behind it too

    • Robert, I agree with you and with Jeremy’s March LRC forecast. Coldest air of March and likely coldest of the rest of the season.

      Mark

  2. So what’s causing every storm coming through the midwest to be so strong? The past cycles didn’t have such an abundance of high QPF producers.

    • Daniel G,

      Good question, but don’t just look back. Realize we are now into March. More and more moisture coming into play from the Gulf. Dewpoints are much higher now just to our south.

      Mark

  3. I just looked at the GFS model for the storm next week. The 540 line is the line to really pay attention to right? And if so that line is pretty far north until real late in the day Wednesday.

    Thanks!

    PS: Mark, loved hearing you on the D-List. I wish they allowed you guys out of shell like that more often.

    • Thanks, Craig.

      D-list is always a lot of fun. Good to let loose every now and then.

      As for GFS, don’t jump to any conclusions yet. It certainly looks pretty warm right now.

      Mark

  4. Mark and Jeremy —

    From what I’m gathering, we should be expecting mostly cold, dreary rain instead of snow out of the storms that come through early in the month {if not all of the month} –just mostly a dull, blah weather pattern? The same applies to the storm you’re calling for next Tues/Wed.?

    Also, I noticed on Weds. night’s 10 pm show, the weekend storm center is projected to go over Chicago, which, I thought, puts us on the cold side of the storm, and so in the best spot for accumulating snow. Yet, I see that the forecast is for mostly rain. Is that because of the time of the year, that the cold side of a storm system is now warm enough to lessen snow chances and amounts?

    I fear the more I think I learn about the weather, the less I really know. Maybe I should just quit this pursuit?

    Don

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