First Alert Weather

Looking to the Skies: Cloud Appreciation Day, The Moon, Mars and the ISS

There are a few special moments in our skies today and tonight

NBC10 Boston

It seems like nowadays there’s a special day for everything! And sure enough, today is no exception. Did you know it’s the first official “Cloud Appreciation Day?"

The event is organized by the Cloud Appreciation Society – which has more than 59,000 members across the world. You can join too and upload your cloud photos there. This year on this date, and each year going forward, the goal is to have everyone spend just a few moments appreciating the beauty of the sky.  It was easy to do across New England today with some high cirrus and some distant wildfire smoke adding some fantastic texture & color out there. In fact, our Chief Meteorologist Matt Noyes this morning showed an image of the early Friday sun through wildfire smoke, over Boston Harbor, as seen from the top of the Prudential Building. The wildfires are burning in the western U.S. but the smoke has been carried high in the sky by atmospheric steering winds.

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Now tonight, our skies will actually be mostly clear – and that’s a good thing because there’s another very cool sight to see! The International Space Station (ISS) will make a pass over us right around 8 p.m. Since the sun will have already set, and the ISS is bright and typically easy to spot, it should be easy to pick out…this time, moving from southwest to east-northeast.  Make sure to get away from light pollution!

Meanwhile, we have another celestial treat to enjoy tonight -- Mars! The moon will be sweeping past it – from around midnight to dawn, all across the world (barring cloud cover) tonight and again tomorrow night. This is special because per EarthSky.org, “Mars has about a two-year cycle of visibility in our sky. And, for much of that cycle, it’s faint and inconspicuous in our sky. But – for a period of perhaps six months, every couple of years – Mars brightens and appears very red. It happens around the time Earth is passing between Mars and the sun. And it’s what’s happening now.”  Sky gazers – look up!

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