Mammatus clouds, seen in the afternoon of July 23rd, 2022 in Wingate, Indiana. The lumpy nature to the cloud is a result of sinking air within the cloud. Description courtesy of RTV6 Meteorologist Kevin Gregory.
Seeing some pink in the late evening sky , tonight, brought to mind an old British saying:-
Red Sky at night, Shepherd’s delight.
Red Sky in the morning, Shepherd’s warning.
This old wives’ tale may help us to predict clear skies or stormy weather ahead depending on the color of the sky at dusk and dawn.
This saying can be traced back as far as the Bible – and a red sunset does typically presage clear skies the following day. However, this only holds true in regions where weather systems mostly travel from west to east, which includes most mid-latitude areas such as the UK.
During the daytime, the sky appears blue because dust and particles in the atmosphere mostly scatter the blue portion of sunlight. When the Sun is low on the horizon, however, the sunlight passes through more air than when it’s higher in the sky. This means that by the time the light reaches us, most of the blue light has been scattered away from our line of sight – leaving the oranges and reds.
A particularly red sky results from high atmospheric pressure, where particles are more highly concentrated and more blue light is scattered. A red sunset therefore usually means that there’s an area of high pressure (which is associated with clear skies) approaching from the west.
If, on the other hand, you observe a red sunrise (ie, in the east), it suggests that a high pressure area has already passed overhead and is moving away. Lower pressure air will soon take its place, bringing rain or even storms – hence the phrase’s companion, “red sky at morning, shepherd’s warning”.
All five naked-eye planets will line up in the dawn sky in June. Not only that, they’ll also be in their proper order from the Sun.
The delightful view of all five naked-eye planets will greet early risers throughout the month of June. While seeing two or three planets close together (in what’s known as a conjunction) is a rather common occurrence, seeing five is somewhat more rare. And what’s even more remarkable about this month’s lineup is that the planets are arranged in their natural order from the Sun.
Throughout the month of June, shortly before the Sun rises, viewers could see Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn — in that order — stretching across the sky from low in the east to higher in the south. Mercury will be tougher to spot: Early in the month, viewers will need an unobstructed eastern horizon as well as binoculars to potentially see the little world. As the month wears on, Mercury climbs higher and brightens significantly, making it easier to see, and thus completing the planetary lineup.
The last time the five naked-eye planets were strung across the horizon in sequence was in December 2004. But this year, the gap between Mercury and Saturn is much shorter.
There are several dates of note this month.
June 3–4: On these two mornings, the five planets span 91° when the separation between Mercury and Saturn will be at its smallest. Find a place with a clear view low toward the east to maximize your chances of catching Mercury. Bring binoculars. You’ll also need to make sure you’re in position well in time to enjoy the view of all five planets — you’ll have less than half an hour between when Mercury first appears above the horizon and when it essentially gets lost in the glare of the rising Sun.
June 24: According to Sky & Telescope magazine, the planetary lineup this morning is even more compelling. To begin with, Mercury will be much easier to snag, making the five-planet parade that much more accessible. And you’ll have about an hour to enjoy the sight, from when Mercury pops above the horizon to when the rising Sun washes it out of the sky. But the real bonus is the waning crescent Moon positioned between Venus and Mars, serving as a proxy Earth. By this time of month, the planets are spread farther across the sky — the distance between Mercury and Saturn will be 107°.
If it’s cloudy on the dates of note, you still have all the mornings in between to take in the view of the five naked-eye planets adorning the southeastern horizon. Just make sure you set your alarm and wake up on time.
Sky & Telescope is making the illustrations above available to editors and producers. Permission is granted for nonexclusive use in print and broadcast media, as long as appropriate credits (as noted) are included. Web publication must include a link to skyandtelescope.org.
The sound of the flags gently flapping in the wind, the rustle of the wind in the trees. Wind chimes gently ringing. Birds chirping, morning doves cooing, a couple of robins fighting over territory or a potential mate. Children laughing and playing in a back yard. The smell of somebody cooking on a charcoal grill. In the distance, the sound of a lawn mower. With the passing traffic, a semi, with a heavy load, struggling to change up through the gears, an older car with a blowing exhaust, a wave from a passing neighbor. Porch life in small town Indiana USA.
I was driving to work this afternoon, here in rural Indiana, with the car windows down, and the outside temperature at about 95 F, with high humidity, that you could see in the air.
This reminded me of what it felt like, on one of the first times I went for a drive, on my own, with all the windows down, in the UK. I suppose, it was in the Summer of 1976, when the UK was under a heatwave and drought that lasted 6 or 8 weeks. That day was similar to today, hot and muggy.
I remember I drove from my hometown of Bournemouth, to a small airfield that was on top of a ridge called Compton Abbas, one Sunday afternoon. That airfield is north of my hometown, but south of the town of Shaftsbury, in Dorset. I passed my driving test in 1975, but did not get my car on the road until early 1976, I think it was.
I had not thought of that day for years. Funny how sights, smells and feelings can trigger memories from your past…