Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Nature Gives Us a Treat in the Lafayette Sky in Time for Halloween

A Big Thank You to Bill Snyder!

Hi Mike,

It was taken in my backyard here in West Lafayette. I do a lot of astrophotography in my backyard. I live just on the edge of town so the sky for me is pretty dark except in the south as that looks back towards town.

I don't know if I've ever sent you my web site but if you're interested you can look around at some of my other astrophotography work.

I just happened to walk in from the telescope and caught the broadcast tonight at 11. I was proud to see my image being used. I am glad you liked it so much!
I saw that big bucket of candy your kids collected. I wonder though who will eat the most, the kids or mom and dad... :-)

After the broadcast I was back out at the telescope taking some more images. I've attached a color image I took with my Nikon camera that I think you will like. The other image I sent you was taken with a specialized camera for astrophotography that is black-and-white. I had to fight the high level thin clouds that were moving in though. They really started to affect the seeing, but if I waited I could get a clear enough spot to snap some pictures.

Enjoy the images and keep your eye on this comet. Who knows what it well do next.

All the best,

This comet known is doing things never before witnessed by astronomers so I am glad we have Bill keep a close eye on it for us. Bill has a very impressive web-site you can click on as well. Check out the link above. It will certainly be a Happy Halloween after receiving this picture. Comets are also called "dirty snowballs" because they are a mixture of ices (both water and frozen gases) and dust that for some reason didn't get incorporated into planets when the solar system was formed. This makes them very interesting as samples of the early history of the solar system. In 1993, we did not have dirty snowballs in the sky but actually snow flurries reaching the ground. It is hard to believe this year we will be about 30 degrees warmer. Balmy breezes today will help highs rocket up to near 70. This will be nature's exclamation mark on one of Lafayette's warmest Octobers on record. Here is the impressive list we have made.

I want to thank Sam Shea of the Midwest Climate Center for his help. We both checked out the past 111 Octobers and 2007 once again made its mark with unusually warm weather. The interesting part to remember about our weather here in the Midwest is that when we have abnormally warm Octobers, we have a better than 70% chance of a warmer than warmer winter. So I do think this will hold up this year and we will save on our heating bills.

Tonight, trick or treaters will have a nice mild start, but the earlier you can go with the kids the better. We have a sunset at 6:46 p.m. and a cold front will move through by 7 p.m. We will have a few sprinkles but the big story will be the plummeting temperatures. We could drop from 65 degrees at 6 p.m. to 55 degrees by 8 p.m. with ghostly breezes. So get out early and get those treats before nature tries to play a trick on you with the temperatures. Remember we will have way more chocolate and Elmos running around than raindrops, but just bring the umbrellas in case a few light showers and sprinkles pop up. The picture of Lauren was taken last night and she was all ready to go trick or treating. You should have seen her face when we tried to tell her she has to wait another day.

I do not want anybody to be caught out in the rain so make sure to tune in tonight and I will have more on this with Live Doppler 18. There is way too much candy in the Prangley household at this time. So remember when you see me bouncing around on your television screen a little more than I usually do, it is the chocolate. Beware of the weatherman. I have issued a chocolate and werewolf advisory as a result. I will be howling tonight about cooler weather as we head into November. I will also have more details on the winter weather workshop held at the National Weather Service on Tuesday. Do they agree with me on a warmer winter? Do they think we could still see not only big snows but ice storms? The answers will be coming your way here on the weather blog and newscasts. Happy Halloween!

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