Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Contrails to decorate our big skies

When we lived in Chicago, we had one small angle of sky that looked toward the east over Lake Michigan. We called it the Broadway Corridor, named for our street; on our back porch was a small telescope through which we saw some of the more interesting stars of an evening. Of course, here in Arizona, the skies are B*I*G and one sees all kinds of things any time of day. Contrails, for example.

Early morning is one of the two best times to view contrails through my big east-facing windows. When this picture was taken, the AM business flights to and from The Coast were just beginning to rev up.

These sky trails are primarily pointed to and from San Francisco; the one contrail crossing the others is headed either for LA or San Diego. As I best can figure it, Prescott sees three clusters of flight patterns: those heading to/from the Northwest (San Francisco), others to/from the Southwest (SoCal, primarily LA) and a final, smaller group bearing due north/south between Phoenix and the Pacific Northwest. Any other contrails you might see are likely to be military jets. (BTW, I'm quite familiar with those north/south flights, as I accompanied my mother to and from Victoria BC to escape the Valley's hot summers for several years. We always flew just to the east of Prescott, giving me a good chance to check out how the real earth compares to the topo maps.)

Note how these flights are diverging to head for either NorCal or SoCal. Below, traffic headed to LA.

I'm always fascinated by the corkscrew that evolves as the contrails expand and interact with the winds. (Below) Bet that's a military pilot flying against the prevailing traffic pattern -- certainly not a liner that discovered he was on the wrong flight path.

It's difficult to resist capturing images of contrail patterns!

Especially the more colorful ones at sunset.

Local Linkage & More: Our local bloggers have been out and about, enjoying great adventures. Rich continues on his ghost town odyssey with pictures from Vulture; Tombo camped out along Wet Beaver Creek before showing up at our blogger meet-up on Sunday; Jarart spent several days haunting Lynx Lake to get a terrific close-up of a local eagle. Now to the wide world; I am on a regular mailing list from NASA which links me to wonderful pictures of places on earth as photographed from space; take a look at the remarkable Saharan dunes here, then scroll down to subscribe to the mailing list. It's great stuff. As long as we are in space, may I recommend Space Weather, which I have been checking regularly to see when and/or if the new sunspot cycle begins. And for just plain fun, spend 45 minutes with Dr. Horrible and his Sing-Along Blog; the production is by Joss Wheden, he of TV's Firefly and Buffy.


Antipodean Curmudgeon said...

Nary a skarick of a contrail here, just old fashoned clouds and of course the ever popular smoke from bush-fires.


desertsandbeyond said...

I noticed a lot of trails over the weekend. Yes, we probably flew over you from Ontario, CA to New Orleans several years ago! Beautiful photos! Come visit my two desert blogs: http://desertswest.blogspot.com/ AND my Palm Desert one: http://desertsandbeyond.blogspot.com/ We LOVE Arizona!

Granny J said...

Bro -- perhaps you should explain that you are without contrails because you live at the End of the Earth and not on anybody's flight path.

beyonder -- I suspect that a NO flight would pass south of Prescott. Glad you love AZ -- just don't try to remake more like SoCal, as too many recent migrants do!

worldphotos4 said...

GJ, nice photos.

Granny J said...

steve -- I can't resist those contrails -- there were oodles of pix that I left out.

Lucy said...

I always find them intriguing and often rather beautiful too, though of course they are doom laden portents of pollution and climate change... I noted that during our recent spell of very high pressure and cold weather, they rarely appeared, or were just very short.

Ron Bloomquist said...

I'm sure you are aware of Astronomy Photo of the Day but if not.


It will be a good addition to your other space interests.


Granny J said...

lucy-- with high pressure & cold weather, the air is drier & contrails, which are prmarily moisture, are less likely to form. Here, our contrails are most evident in the early morning, before the heat of the sun has warmed the air and thus dried it out.

diana said...

The cork screw effect is so cool, I'm going to watch for that!

Gushue said...

Granny J...

Sorry I missed out on the blog event. In between laptops these days, perhaps I will make a later date.

p.s. I like the narratives you tell.

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