Catch Up Snow at Pit n Pole

Well its been a while since I've written as most will know. My goal is to post at least one thing once a week.  The weather here since early November when I last got out has been extremely cloudy, so cloudy that the only viewing I've gotten in is on my back porch with the moon up.  For example, during  new moon it is cloudy, snow falling and impossible to observe, and dangerous at times to drive. So the new 14 inch sits in my office, the new collimation tools and eyepieces I have sit in their respective cases in my office.

Next, after the storms clear, we in the Salt Lake Valley and the surrounding valley's get an "inversion." I posted on this last winter but here in the Salt Lake Valley yes, we get cold air trapped down below and the warm air is up at the ski resorts and mountain communities. Here in the Salt Lake Valley we also get our great amount of smog trapped in with our cold air creating unhealthy conditions for breathing and respiratory illnesses or heart disease.  The elderly and children suffer as well.  As an adult with adult onset asthma I too suffer. I hope at some point the government of Utah passes some common sense laws to help clean up our air problem. I fear it will have to be the Federal government via the EPA that will cut off Federal funding for roads here in Utah before serious work is done to correct this. To clarify, we have seen an increase in the amount of public transportation via our tracks and trains.

So this afternoon I decided to head out to a local observing site, the one called Pit n Pole to see how bad the pollution was and to see  what conditions were like there. I had done this about 2 weeks ago with my friend Mat, but the pictures I took were in the dark and I wanted ones taken during the day. So here are my pictures.

Above you can see the haze and smog that are in the valley's around Salt Lake City.  Here I am between Cedar Fort and Fairfield (where Campt Floyd is located and you can't see the mountains in the distance. Yuck, but at least the sun was out here unlike in the Salt Lake Valley.

Again, just showing the level of haze and smog that make up the valley inversions here that make it hard to observe.

Same as the other ones and here you can barely see the mountains above.

More of the same as you look all around.

As I traveled out from Fairfield (Camp Floyd) the air began to clear for a moment as I drove up to Five Mile Pass.  This is the parking lot where ATVers park their trucks and trailers, unload and load up to ATV or to end their day.

Here I am pulled over just after turning on the Pony Express Road or the Faust Road and you can see the smog blocking the views of the mountains to the west.

More of the same again but with Prong Horn tracks.

This is after the turn at Pony Express Marker 3 that leads to the Pit n Pole. This is where you turn right to go down to Pit n Pole.  There were people shooting out there today just north of the Pit and into the wall of the Pit. They were gracious as I took a few photographs and got out of there.

Looking south to the mountains that you can see to the south of Pit n Pole. Usually they are sharp and clear. Not today, but clearer than the valley's in the urban and suburban areas.

This is looking towards the SheepRock Mountains and the majestic and beautiful SheepRocks are not to be seen.

This is the road leading to the Pit and looking west. Can you see the mountains through the smog?

Looking north with plenty of smog.

Looking north with the Tooele Valley to the left and the mountains behind Five Mile Pass to right.

This is looking more east toward Five Mile Pass.

Here is a shot to keep and look at.  The first time in my time in the hobby that I have seen snow that has lasted at Pit n Pole. Usually it melts off rather quick. Not this year, the snow has been out there since December.

Here is the road that leads to the Pit n Pole. Yes, at places the snow was still a good foot deep and I had to keep constant speed as the bottom of my Altima nudge the snow.

Here is the PR 3 sign where you turn down the main dirt road to go to the Pit n Pole. I felt it made a fun time to see it surrounded by snow!

Tonight is the conjunction of the moon and Jupiter so I thought I would try out my new DSLR camera and take some quick shots.  So here are the images I took.  I haven't processed or tried to do anything to them.  Just the raw image. If you click on the images to make them larger and go to the last couple of shots, I think I captured a couple of the Gallian moons as well. Thoughts?

I'll follow up in the next day or two with two sketches I've done using a mask I made for the Mellish method.  This is based on a discussion and a question that was asked on CloudyNights. I wanted to see what its like to sketch with a circle without putting the circle on the paper.  The mask allows for that. More on that though in the next couple of days.