Friday, 20 March 2009

Stormy summit clouds

The weather has been poor the last few days at the summit with a lot of snowfall. Tonight it finally cleared although the remnants of the storm are still at the summit. This evening, for instance, the clouds were at summit level and looked angry, but the colours were amazing as the sun set behind them. We were hopeful of a good night, because the clouds generally start to descend once the sun has set, and they did indeed try to. Unfortunately, as I write this (midnight), the clouds are back and the summit is in thick fog. The forecast is encouraging for tomorrow night though. It'll be good to get back into the swing of things, it's been quite a while since I last did some observing.

So, the pictures are 1) the true summit. The snow is almost pristine but I see some people have trekked to the summit already.

2) The twin Kecks with angry looking clouds behind them. I believe it takes something like 15-minutes to fully open a Keck dome (please correct me if I'm wrong), so no chance of opening now with the threat of optics-damaging fog all around.

3) Finally, the JCMT sits down in Submillimetre Valley with fog blowing through and the colourful but threatening clouds not far away.


Andrew Cooper said...

They are slow, but not that slow, less than 5 minutes to open. They may attempt to open tonight, observing was not completely called for once, but permitted with restrictions due to ice on the domes.

Tom said...

Thanks for the quick correction, Andrew. I'm not sure where I got my number from. Perhaps I'm thinking of the early days of Keck - or something else completely?

Zuzana said...

I think I will never get quiet used to the fact that there is snow in Hawaii.
Love the pictures below as well.;)

Keera Ann Fox said...

Why do pictures like this make me thing of science fiction and worlds not like this one? :-)