Smoke from fires in the Canada’s Northwest Territories continues to funnel down across Manitoba and into the U.S. Upper Midwest creating an artificial overcast of smoky haze. We’ve lost the blue clarity of our daytime sky; at night stars look much dimmer seem more distant.
If you’re a skywatcher, everything in the nighttime sky looks noticeably fainter, especially objects within 20° of the horizon. I feel as if I’m looking through gauze. The unusually pallid appearance of the sky from dinnertime onward might make you think the sun has already set until you realize it’s still out there in the west looking little brighter than the full moon.
Funny. Yesterday, when I took this picture, someone pulled up alongside my car and remarked at how amazing the moon looked. The strangely faint sun had thrown him off!
Fire smoke generally scatters away nearly all light from the setting sun except deep oranges and reds.
The haze is both good and bad when it comes to observing. We like a big red sun, but it’s tough sacrificing otherwise clear nights.
I shouldn’t complain. People farther north, where the smoke is heavier, have to breath it.
Keep watch on the moon the next few nights as it waxes from crescent to half. If you live where there’s forest fire smoke, chances are you’re in for some red moons too.