Sculpted Snow and Comet Quest

Clear and cold. Temperatures dropped well into the 20s overnight. Maybe not as cold as the 20F that was forecast earlier, but the coldest we’ve yet seen this season.

Both Connor and Rowan separately mentioned to me the wind must have blown last night. Although conditions were calm this morning, several areas showed evidence in the form of wind-sculpted snow drifts.

I made it out for a bit this afternoon.

I went by the industrial park. I did not drive down on the dock, and only looked briefly, but did not see many birds on the water.

I did see some sculpted snow drifts which caught my eye. I like the abstract forms they take on.

With skies appearing pretty clear to the horizon, I thought there might be a chance for seeing a green flash.

Walking up the bridge, I heard then got a brief look at a handful of Bohemian Waxwings. I also thought I saw a few not far past Kashevarof Street while driving when driving earlier, but couldn’t easily stop to confirm.

As the sun set, it was partially obscured by a bank of clouds near the horizon. A gap below did allow me to see the last of the sun, but I did not see any hint of green. This may have been due in part to a higher thin layer of clouds.

Looking at satellite imagery from the time of sunset, both clouds were well offshore. I think the higher layer was over 200 miles out, and the lower cloud bank somewhere between 80-130 miles distant (much further than I would have guessed, which also means they must have been much higher up than I thought).

I enjoyed seeing the pastel pink light over and on snow covered mountains after the sun had disappeared. It reminded me of some hand painted old black and white photographs. I don’t remember having that impression before.

I’ve been reading about comet Leonard, and saw it was theoretically possible to see for a bit after sunset.

I decided to watch from Pioneer Park and spent over an hour watching the sky darken and stars slowly appear.

Venus followed by Jupiter a few minutes later were the first points of light I saw. It seemed quite sometime before I first noticed a star.

I never saw anything that looked like a comet to me. However, reviewing my photos, I did capture a fuzzy point which I believe is the comet. I had seen it through binoculars while I was out, but could not resolve it well enough to distinguish it from a faint star. It was close enough to the sun that the sky was still relatively pale around it, even an hour after sunset.

I was a little surprised at how many more stars showed up in my later pictures than I could actually see while I was there. Modern sensors are much more sensitive (to somethings at least) than my eyes.

My iNaturalist Observations for Today

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