Global Warming?

In March of 2017 we moved to Lexington, MO. Since that time (April 2018) we have had exactly 12 fully clear nights! This does not include the evenings where it is clear for a few hours then cloudy the bulk of the night. Of those 12 clear nights, 5 were during the period around full moon. Temple 28 (11″ CPC) was set up April of 2017 and is still in the process of being calibrated. You need several clear nights in a row to get everything set up and running. In October of 2017 I was in Colorado for a writing retreat. I was told it was clear all week in Lexington, MO but in Colorado Springs where I was, we started out the week with a blizzard then 2 nights of clouds. During the total solar eclipse of 2017 Lexington saw heavy rain until 30 minutes before totality, then clouds after dark that night. There have been a number of clear days with cloud banks rolling in right at dark.

From 1993-1997 we lived in Weston, MO. Though there were times of bad weather, over all there were many nights of clear skies. Comet Hale-Bopp was visible almost every evening for several months. Comet Hyakutaki was also visible for several weeks. I don’t remember missing any major astronomy events due to bad weather during that period of time. Even the week of the Comet Shoemaker-Levy Crash was clear.

I am not sure what has changed. I realize that every location, even those only a few miles apart, will have slightly different weather. Lexington is about 50 miles east of Weston and does get different fronts and weather patterns. As this is written we are in a La Nina which includes enhanced chances of clouds, but not usually as much as we are seeing. Is it global warming, global cooling or maybe just a really cloudy year? Al that I know is when we have this many clouds it is hard to have astronomy as your hobby!