A Journey to Understanding Home Weather Stations and Telescopes
From my home weather station
I learned to love weather from my father
I grew up in the house of a scientist. Based on that, I have a curiosity about scientific information that is most likely different than some, although you may be reading this thinking, yes, I am curious about the science of things as well. The question of understanding what is happening around us is the basis of my scientific journey.
The first manifestation of the start of my journey was a home weather station. My father always had an indoor/outdoor thermometer in his office. I decided to go full out and have an anemometer (measures wind) as well as several other weather measurement devices. The news person would say it rained 1 inch downtown Indianapolis, and I could tell them it was 1.2 inches south of the city!
I learned early on that the weather on the weather station normally in the US came from NOAA or the NWS (NOAA is the national oceanic atmosphere administration, NWS is the National weather service) and that they had sensors all over the US. Most of their reporting stations were schools, downtown areas, and seldom out where I lived. The temperature difference was sometimes as much as 5 degrees (normally cooler in the country than in the city).
Today there are weather stations that offer more capabilities than the first weather stations I used. The older stations had a base unit, and you connected the base to the remote units by radio waves. You were limited in the distance and the total number of sensors.
Now you can connect your weather station to your home wifi. You still have a base station. But where in the old days you collected information like wind speed, wind direction, and rainfall amounts, you can collect so much more weather information now.
The technology continues to improve.
Some stations offer the ability to share a time-lapse video of the weather for a day. Some stations offer lighting sensors. Both lighting strike and distance, so you know how close the lighting is. You can also capture rain amounts and the barometric pressure where you are. One other thing is the expanding capabilities of handheld or portable weather systems — these handheld weather stations off power at your fingertips. You can measure everything my old home weather station did in the palm of your hand!
But now that weather station connects to the internet and allows you to see what the weather is at your home, no matter where you are. Now you can have your actual temperature and what the weather forecasting agencies say the temperature is and know the difference.
The second magnification of my love of scientific instructors comes in the form of telescopes. Over the years, I have had several telescopes. The newer telescopes come with a star/astral viewing data based that allows finding what you are looking for in the sky quickly. Type in the moon, and the telescope will automatically turn towards the celestial body.
Additionally, now, you can take your DSLR (digital single-lens reflex camera) or a stand-alone camera, and in a short time, you can be taking pictures of the sky above you. I realize that this makes me different most people don’t consider either of my two primary hobbies, hobbies. But for me, they are important. Now, the interesting thing is coming later this year. There is a new telescope with an integrated camera that connects directly to your cell phone. Now you can sit inside your house, and on a cold winter night, when the Supermoon is wandering by, take pictures from the warmth of your kitchen!
My love of telescopes came to the front during the time Skylab was above us in the atmosphere. I spent many evenings tracking Skylab with a lower power telescope. It was amazing to catch the short glimpse as the lab flew overhead.
The evolution of home weather stations has been incredible. My first weather station was huge and staked out on a pole in my backyard. In those days, I had young children running around the backyard. That put the weather station at risk of, well young children! Now, most of the weather stations you can get are modular. Each of the modules can be placed where they will get the right exposure. Rain gauges placed underwater collection systems don’t give proper readings! Wind gauges that don’t sit in the wind can’t tell you what the actual wind speed is.
I am looking forward to the shipping later this year connected telescope. It allows me to stargaze during the day and sleep at night. I can’t stay up as late now as I used to do.
Thanks for reading! Are there things you do because you learned them from your parents?
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 DocAndersen