Road/Trail/River Conditions

Caltrans is reporting 1-way traffic controls on SR-49 from 2.7 miles east to 6.5 miles east of the Placer/Nevada county line from 7 pm to 5 am through tomorrow, 6/17. SR-70 is closed from Jarbo Gap (Butte Co.) to the Greenville Wye (Plumas Co.) due to a mudslide and motorists are advised to use an alternate route. On SR-89, construction work is imposing 1-way traffic controls during the day at various locations from the junction of SR-70 to 1.5 miles north of the junction with SR-147 (Plumas Co.) through 6/24. Fire rehabilitation activity continues to bring 24-hour controls to this area.

Mud is continuing to affect the trails.

With little prospect for precipitation in the near future, the volume of water flowing in the rivers and creeks is expected to remain significantly below historic norms.

Night Sky

By Collin O’Mara-Green

The Moon is always Super!

Image: NASA / USGS / The Planetary Society

The internet was again awash with click-bait titles regarding the SuperMoon. Terms once relegated to the Farmer’s Almanac now explode into eye-catching posts like “Don’t miss the rare Full Harvest Strawberry Blue Supermoon!” Here’s what some of those titles really mean.

The terms “Harvest”, “Strawberry” and others denote a full moon’s timing with agricultural seasons, like when it’s time to harvest or when strawberries are ripe. A “Blue Moon” refers to the second full moon in a month, or the fourth in a season, not the moon’s color. The infrequency of these calendar timings lead to the term “Once in a Blue Moon”, meaning not that common.

And the overhyped “Supermoon” descriptor! Ugh, this is a tough one for space and science enthusiasts to hear, because we think the moon is always super! And the fact that “Supermoon” is not an actual astronomical term. The Moon’s orbit around Earth is not a perfect circle but more of an offset oval, or ellipse. When the Moon is slightly closer to Earth than other times, it’s called a perigee moon with a mostly unnoticeable bump to size and brightness.

So always look at the moon, in all of its phases. Not just when it’s close and full!

Keep lookin’ up!

Night Sky

By Collin O’Mara-Green

A morning string of planets

Early risers will be greeted to a string of planets in the morning skies this month.

Looking to the east about 30-60 minutes before sunrise, you will, without the aid of binoculars, see a line of star-like objects extending upwards to the right of where the sun will rise. These are the planets (from left to right) Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. The planet Uranus is out there, too, but it’s not visible to the eye.

This is a great way to see the plane of the solar system and our relative place in it. As the Earth orbits the Sun, we sometimes see the rest of the planets from an edge-on view. Also, many reports will call this a planetary alignment, but really it’s just planets in a line. An alignment occurs when objects line up with a central point, such as during eclipses.

More info:

Find an unobstructed morning view of the eastern horizon this month and enjoy!

Keep lookin’ up!