December 10, 2016

Nighttime Weather Cams: The Next Frontier

One of the great sources of weather information are video cams that view the sky, particularly since a number of them are now available in high-def and in near real time.    One of my favorites is the space needle pano cam, shown below, which gives you a 360 degree view of the skies of Seattle.  And there are thousands more "weather" cams around the U.S.
Virtually all of these cams are daytime affairs...and clearly there is plenty of weather going on at night--as well as lots of stars, meteors, auroras, and other interesting visual elements.

With cameras and video increasingly offering low-light capabilities, why stop with daytime weather cams?   You don't have to...and someone is exploring this fascinating new dimension:  Greg Johnson of Washington's SkunkBay Weather.

Greg Johnson is our local poet-laureate/visual artist of weather cam videos and offers a website in which you can view triple-cam views of the sky from his home on the Kitsap Peninsula.   Some of his weather videos, coordinated with new age music, are moving on an emotional level.  Recently, he started producing night cam videos and the results are amazing.  Let me show you a few.

Here is one in which you can see stars (the big dipper!), clouds, aircraft, and a few meteors (click link):
Or one during the supermoon, a few weeks ago:

Super Moon - November 2016 from SkunkBayWeather on Vimeo.

One with clouds, aurora, and meteors!
All Night - Aurora and Meteors - 12/6 - 12/7 from SkunkBayWeather on Vimeo.

Or a moonlit night in October:

Moon Lit Clouds and a Meteor - October 18, 2016 from SkunkBayWeather on Vimeo.

I think you will agree that such nighttime sky videos have a lot of promise and I look forward to the results of Greg's exploration of their potential.   With music, of course.


  1. Behold!

  2. Here is a time-lapse camera from UC Berkeley's Lawrence Hall of Science overlooking San Francisco Bay and the surrounding cities and suburbs. The top image is usually near-live. The bottom image contains a time-lapse of the day before. Interesting weather and fog patterns are often observed, including sunsets and moonsets. Nighttime traffic and boat patterns are nice as well.

  3. I've mentioned before in a previous comment that the North Bend cam is my "go to" link to watch Mt Si. Yesterday, it was like watching a winter wonderland. The views of the mountain are spectacular. Please view it during the day because its a live streaming video. Unfortunately, I can't seem to stream it on mobile devices. I don't know who to credit the webcam to but here's the link:

  4. Here's something for you Cliff:

  5. From watching that time-lapse video of the whole night, I'm struck by how much darker the sky is after about 11pm than it is earlier in the evening. Compare 9pm directly with 3am, for instance. You can probably chalk that up to sports fields going dark, fewer vehicles on the roads, and people turning off (manually or automatically) their porch lights and Christmas lights for the night.

  6. Hi Cliff! I'm guessing your next topic will be about this weeks cold and slight chance of snow...although according to the NWS it's a tough forecast to pinpoint because it keeps changing and the models wont agree on much. So far it's not going to be quite as cold as first thought and we might as well flip a coin to find out our chances for snow! But in the afternoon discussion today the NWS mentioned that after next weekends almost normal weather (whatever normal is these days!) the following week looks interesting. Can you mention why it looks interesting when you write up your next post? I know it's a ways out but it's also less than a week before Christmas. Would be nice to know if we should try to find a way to speed up our holiday preparations. Thank you!

    1. I was thinking the exact same thing windlover. I've been glued to the forecast discussion lately. I so want that cold air bottled up to our North to usher south.

    2. I also noticed the language that the NWS used about the next week's weather being interesting, but I interpret that to mean this week.

      So disappointing that we can never have real cold and real snow.

      Does Cliff ever respond to any of the questions being posted?

  7. We have several cams here in Star Valley WY to keep track of our skies. The cam near Bedford provides an excellent nighttime view.

  8. Looks like a lot of rain early next week which would mean a bunch of snow for the mountains. The extended for Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday shows 40% - 70% chance of rain with high temps barely touching 40 and lows around 36. Monday also looks a bit breezy/windy so add the upslope winds and it will be dumping in the mountains. My guess is that's what looks so interesting next week. Would be awsome if the temps would drop 10 degrees for the lowlands with all that moisture!

  9. Love the night cams. I sometimes setup my astronomy camera on time lapse when I know there is a storm or something significant happening but mine is black and white.

    This was back in June when a thunder storm was moving through but never materialized.


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