School children in Michigan are taught that there are these mysterious things beyond the clouds; but the Sun, Moon, planets and stars are elusive to those who live under the “Michigan nebula.” This last weekend, a Girl Scout troop was scheduled to do some viewing at the Warren Astronomical Society’s Stargate Observatory; outreach volunteers had to give presentations inside one of the camp buildings because of cloud cover and cold; there was even a light covering of snow on the ground the next morning…
I go to a lot of science fiction conventions, and drag my telescopes with me; I frequently get blamed for bringing the clouds with me…
Many years ago, I picked up my brother from Detroit Metro Airport and drove him to Flint. During the ride, he complained that Michigan’s continually overcast skies looked like the skies of Mordor; I can’t stop myself from using that trope.
Saturn, Jupiter, the Moon, stars and constellations – and the rest of the Michigan’s sky will be completely hidden behind an unrelenting cover of clouds – seemingly for eternity.
A shelf cloud is a low, horizontal, wedge-shaped arcus cloud. A shelf cloud is attached to the base of the parent cloud, which is usually a thunderstorm cumulonimbus, but could form on any type of convective clouds. Rising cloud motion often can be seen in the leading (outer) part of the shelf cloud, while the underside often appears turbulent and wind-torn. Cool, sinking air from a storm cloud‘s downdraft spreads out across the land surface, with the leading edge called a gust front. This outflow cuts under warm air being drawn into the storm’s updraft. As the lower cooler air lifts the warm moist air, its water condenses, creating a cloud which often rolls with the different winds above and below (wind shear).
People seeing a shelf cloud may believe they have seen a wall cloud. This is likely a mistake, since an approaching shelf cloud appears to form a wall made of cloud. A shelf cloud usually appears on the leading edge of a storm, and a wall cloud will usually be at the rear of the storm.
A sharp, strong gust front will cause the lowest part of the leading edge of a shelf cloud to be ragged and lined with rising fractus clouds. In a severe case there will be vortices along the edge, with twisting masses of scud that may reach to the ground or be accompanied by rising dust. A very low shelf cloud accompanied by these signs is the best indicator that a potentially violent wind squall is approaching. An extreme example of this phenomenon looks almost like a tornado and is known as a gustnado. – Wikipedia
The orbits of those two bodies have caused scientists some concern, tho…
An Evening of Fun for the Entire Family!
Grab a lawn chair and some popcorn and watch the show as the most intense geomagnetic storm since the 1859 Carrington Event causes magnificent auroras from pole to equator! You won’t want to miss this! Observers in Michigan will likely be unable to see the Aurora, but they will be able to see power lines turn incandescent, and transformers on utility poles burst into multicolored displays!
Fireball Witnessed in Florida Identified as Captain Marvel Returning to Earth
Cassini: Make Saturn PAY!
Israel Space Agency Joins Round Earth Conspiracy
Asteroid Bennu’s Automated Defenses Target OSIRIS-REx Spacecraft with Meteor Gun!
Tesla Roadster has Encounter in Deep Space
The Climate Has Been Completely Fixed!
Section header image credits:
The Sky – Stellarium/ Bob Trembley
Observing Target – Turn Left at Orion / M. Skirvin
The Moon – NASA/JPL-Caltech
The Sun – NASA/JPL-Caltech
Fireballs – Credited to YouTube
The Solar System – NASA Eyes on the Solar System / Bob Trembley
Spacecraft News – NASA Eyes on the Solar System / Bob Trembley
 Ironically, as I was writing this my Michigan sky is (for the first time in a while) amazingly crystal blue!