Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Water Vapor Channel

Just to wrap up a short series of posts on looking up to the heavens. The Perseids were really spectacular on Thursday night. About two-thirds of the sky up here in Northern California was clear, so I didn't have to go up the mountain to get a view. I also got a great binocular view of Venus during most of the early evening.

As regular readers know, I have a real affection for NASA space photography and in particular the vistas from the Hubble Space Telescope. I like to wander around the NASA websites looking for what those space cadets may have served up recently for our visual consumption. Here is my latest discovery from my extracurricular sky surfin': The Water Vapor Channel. These images come from the Earth Science Laboratories in Huntsville, Alabama.

What is fascinating about the water vapor shots is that you can see rain or snow a lot more clearly than just looking at cloud cover. Some clouds are just not as wet as others. In addition, you can make your own photo by putting in longitude and latitude; so when I go to the website I get a real time moist overview of the San Francisco Bay area.

There is also a link to an infrared channel, if you want to see some truly awesome shots of storm systems take a long look at them in infrared. The useage tips over on the left side make the site interactively a lot of fun.

Next post I will be back down to earth as strongly requested by several critical readers.

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