Are the night skies of South Florida darker than usual?

By Trent Aric, Meteorologist, taric@local10.com
Published On: Jan 25 2012 12:13:16 AM EST
Updated On: Feb 05 2012 04:49:09 PM EST
MIAMI -

When I first walked into the newsroom on Tuesday I was asked by one of our producers, “Why was it so dark last night?” 

There are a couple of reasons.  The first reason is that we had mostly clear skies across South Florida.  Why does that matter?  Well, when skies are cloudy all the city lights reflect off the clouds above and back to the surface.  No clouds means no light being bounced around our night sky. 

The second reason is the Moon.  On Tuesday we were in a “new Moon” phase.  During a “new Moon” phase the Moon is between the Earth and the Sun and is not visible from Earth because the side of the Moon facing us is not being lit by the sun. 

Therefore we do not have any light at night from the Moon. 

On Wednesday the Moon will start into the “waxing crescent” phase with 6% of the Moon’s visible disk illuminated.  The moon will rise at 8:26am and set at 8:28pm so what little light the “waxing crescent” will provide on Wednesday will be brief with the sun setting at 5:59pm. 

So with clear skies in the forecast and the moon setting before 8:30pm expect the night skies to be a little darker than usual.

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