Thursday, August 30, 2012

Sunrises through Smoke

The sun rises through a dense smoke layer above the Snowstorm Mountains, possibly near Kelly Creek Mountain, on August 12th. A northern part of the Osgood Mountains, on the east slope of peak 2506 (MSRMaps location), forms the foreground. Smoke on this morning, although from many fires, is mostly from the huge Holloway fire between Denio and McDermitt, NV, and from the Hanson fire near Paradise.
The sun doesn't quite make it through the clouds near the north side of Jake Creek Mountain on August 21st. This was a somewhat less hazy morning compared to many in the last one and a half to two months.
The sun rises over the south slope of the Owyhee Bluffs, south of Jake Creek Mountain, on August 22nd. The smoke layer is fairly dense. At this point in the month, so many fires were burning in California (and the Holloway fire was completely under control and firefighters had been demobilized from the area), that it was impossible to tell where the smoke was coming from, other than somewhere to the west. Likely candidates included the Rush fire, the Chips fire, the Pass or North Pass fire, and others.
The sun rises near the north edge of Jake Creek Mountain that same morning, August 22nd. Because of the vagaries of topography, angle of viewing, and elevation of the viewer, this is the second sunrise in one day. Sometime in July, I saw the sun rise five times over the same terrain. The air was smoky, even then, from mid-summer fires, for example the Long Draw fire north of McDermitt.
The sun rises through "the notch" in the Midas Trough, on August 23rd.
The sun rises a second time on August 23rd, at that same point on the back side, or north slope, of Jake Creek Mountain.

The Owyhee Bluffs and peak of Jake Creek Mountain are on the south (right) side of the mesa, just north of the Midas Trough. Kelly Creek Mountain is the mountain block north (left) of the lowland carved by Jake Creek, north of the rising sun (NationalMapViewer location; MSRMaps location).
A closer view of that last sunrise.
The last two mornings have been less smoky, even approaching merely hazy.

The sun is now not rising at all before I arrive at work at about 6:15 am. The sun is rising about a minute later every morning, and setting about a minute earlier, so the days are getting shorter by about two minutes every day. In south central Alaska, for comparison, the days are getting shorter by about five and a half minutes per day. The fall equinox is approaching.

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